Not without Laughter by Langston Hughes

1391 Words Feb 25th, 2018 6 Pages
Specifically, the class relationships in American society through Sandy's experiences with the 3 sisters of the novel: Annjee, Tempy and Harriett. The sensibilities, style and intuitive feel of these 3 characters communicates to the reader that each one represents a different means of living, reflective of three prominent social strata in American society: the working-class, the petit-bourgeois middle class and the declassed.

Annjee is Sandy’s mother and a main character throughout the novel. She typifies the life of a working-class woman. The only thing she owns is her labor, which she must sell to ensure subsistence day to day. Annjee recognizes her social position when she says bluntly, “Thank God for night… ‘cause all day you gives to white folks” (Hughes 1930, p.78). This brief statement is an example of class consciousness; she knows that she must sell her labor to survive and that her labor is out of her control (but rather rests in the hands of the employer). One of the first explicit introductions of class relationships through the thoughts and dialogue of Sandy is when he accompanies his mother to her workplace- Mrs. Rice’s family home. Annjee is berated and spoken to in a master/servant tone by her employer, while Sandy expresses his frustration and sadness at the scene (Hughes 1930, p.76-77). The…
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