Essay on If He Hollers Let Him Go

2781 Words Dec 7th, 2014 12 Pages
Chester Himes’s If He Hollers Let Him Go provides a graphic window into the world of racism where his protagonist, Bob Jones, outlines personal dreams that serve as a framework to recreate the reality of the overwhelming prejudice prevalent in the 1940s. The novel unfolds over a course of four to five days, where each day begins with a nightmare encountering various forms of racism. Throughout each dream, Jones elicits scenes of violence, with each one escalating in visual description and immoral degree, along with his personal reflections after he wakes up. Himes’s structuring of the novel suggests a realistic representation of racism as seen through Jones’s unconscious state, where the dream sequences represent racism so pervasive that …show more content…
In trying to find where she has gone, he encounters “a weedy park that slanted down to a river… the park was hilly and rocky and covered with a dense growth of scrub… and millions of swine with bony sharp spines and long yellow tusks running about in the brush” (100-101). This type of landscape is indicative of the type of world that Jones lives in. Los Angeles is not a mundane flat land constituted of one element, but rather one that is characteristic of hills, turns, slants, and other aspects of wild nature that allude to the intensity of Jones’s obstacles as a black man living in a white world. The park is described as “weedy,” where it could have just as easily been described as “grassy” or “fertile” had Himes intended to portray Los Angeles as a vast space of opportunity as it was so falsely believed to be. It is also described as “rocky,” where Himes could be poking at wordplay by suggesting that Jones’s condition is rocky in terms of being unstable in his identity. The swine that Jones encounters in the dream epitomize the white community, as there are “millions” of them “running around,” just like in reality where they outnumber the black population. The swine’s “bony sharp spines and long yellow tusks” mirror the spinelessness of whites, where Jones perceives them to be

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