How Does Himes Write Harlem

Decent Essays

Himes confidently conveys the grit and grim of 1950's Harlem. He masters setting the scene. As the reader, I had a palpable sense of each character’s state. Just as Grimes’ title suggests, he writes not about stories based in Harlem. He writes Harlem. Through Grimes’ words, Harlem became bigger than a story, more than the rough characters, bigger than the stage. Harlem is a powerful force that should not be stopped. Harlem is gorgeous and violent and filthy and alive. Harlem takes on more of a role that the human characters. Grimes’ writing took me there and I was excited and horrified. You end up feeling a sense of vulnerability as the Harlem that I have traveled to in recent years takes breathe in the tale of a setting over half a century old. …show more content…

Himes lets the not so streetwise reader see through the eyes of someone who melts into their surroundings. By doing this the reader is engaged and actively walking the halls of brothels and streets lined with addicts. White folks get to feel the tension of policemen surrounding them with preconceived judgement, knowing that because they stand behind a badge they are smarter than he is. Himes provides context to the characters reactions. As a reader who may have never found themselves in the busy streets of Harlem at night, the writer allows you the opportunity to have a bit of a background check to these characters. This may have given me a sense of security or a false feeling of well-being as these people no longer come across as

Get Access