Analysis Of Chester Himes 's ' If He Hollers Let Him Go '

965 WordsApr 11, 20164 Pages
If He Hollers Let Him Go, a contemporary American novel published by Chester Himes in 1945, addresses multiple themes of racism and injustice during the World War II era throughout its pages, using the experience of a single black shipyard worker named Robert Jones. Jones awakes every morning in the wake of disturbing nightmares that center on his fears of the war, of racism, and of the thought that his own blackness might forever be the paramount obstacle in his search for total freedom. The protagonist flees the stifling racism of segregated Cleveland, Ohio in search of a job and higher esteem, but he soon finds that the widely-touted image of California as a veritable paradise is largely inaccurate—at least, and especially, for blacks. Southern California’s booming defense industry has created a market for black and other minority workers in an environment that is not ready to be welcoming to them in the least. Even though he snags the reputable position of a supervisor at Atlas Shipyards, Jones is under constant threat of ruin from the actions and attitudes of his coworkers, both superior and inferior. The crux of Himes’s contention is showcased by the fact that putting a black man in a position of power does more to hurt than to help him; as supervisor he has been placed in the forefront of people’s vision and has thus become the first in their line of fire. When white Texan Madge Perkins not only refuses to work under him because of his race, but also throws out a

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