Essay on Langston Hughes and Jesse B. Simple

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“Lansgton Hughes and Jesse B. Semple”

In the early 1940s an African American writer by the name of Langston Hughes, who flourished during the Harlem Renaissance in New York, had established a character in his short story writings named Jesse B. Semple. Through these short stories he used this character to represent the black man of his times. However the question remains, is Jesse B. Semple an accurate representation of the black man of 1940s? This question can best be answered by looking at the conditions of society during that time period, what the mind set of the black man in that era and comparing it to the representation that Hughes created with Jesse B. Semple.
     Langston Hughes was born on February 1st,
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The society in which Langston Hughes was projecting his work to was the era of the Harlem Renaissance. However, even though the, “Simple” stories were created during the Harlem Renaissance they held more importance during the 1940s. To best comprehend what the character, Jesse B. Semple represented you must look at the society of that era and the point in time he was created. Hughes began writing the, “Simple” stories in 1943. It started as a weekly column in the Negro Newspaper, the Chicago Defender. During the 1940s the black man was still experiencing oppression and segregation from the whites in America. The Civil Rights movement had not yet taken place so blacks were still considered less then a citizen. Blacks in America could not vote yet nor could they eat in the same restaurants as whites or even get a job other than a servant in a white business or establishment. Therefore, with the type of climate that the society of the 1940s had, many of the black authors coming out of the Harlem Renaissance, especially Hughes, were considered radicals.
During the 1940s there were many authors creating poems and stories to try and uplift the spirit of the black community in New York. However, Langston Hughes felt inspired to write about a fictional character, which in he attempted to represent all of the feelings of the black man without being blatant or bold: “Jesse B. Semple is certainly no romantic hero, protest victim or

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