Prejudice in Langston Hughes' Novel, Not Without Laughter

1387 Words 6 Pages
Throughout Langston Hughes' novel, Not Without Laughter, the author introduces multiple characters that reveal their notions of prejudice. The novel explores that prejudice in one form or another is in every aspect of one's life. Prejudice can be defined as an opinion for or against a person's look, race, class, or religion, which is usually formed by a hasty generalization. Most of the main characters, Aunt Hager, Sister Johnson, Jimboy, Harriet, and Tempy contain different accounts of prejudice in the world, which stimulate many of Sandy's thoughts of life as he comes of age. Aunt Hager, Annjee, Harriet, and Sandy, are a multi-generation poor African American family that live in a small home together but are eventually divided by …show more content…
Jimboy has the tendency to run across the country claiming to be looking for work while leaving her daughter and grandson to fend for themselves. Jimboy's work ethics are not the only sore subject for Aunt Hager: she also objects to his looks. She questions his ethnicity when she states, "I ain't never seen a yaller dude yet that meant a dark woman no good - an' Annjee is dark"(p.32). She also comments derisively that nobody even knows anything about his parents. She also claims that while he strums the blues on his guitar, he is the "devils musicianer" (p. 46). However if he plays her some gospel music, she'll forget about their disagreements for a moment. Not only does Aunt Hager show prejudice towards Jimboy but also to anyone that lives or frequents the area that is called the Bottoms. The Bottoms are known to be where whites and blacks mingle to drink and an area that is known for prostitution. Later in the story the Bottoms is where her youngest daughter Harriet stays for a short time, since she wants to work and have a good time. Aunt Hager explains having a good time "... ain't right, an' it ain't Christian...." (p. 55). Although Aunt Hager believes some white people are good, Sister Johnson, a neighbor, can't stand any white people and tells her story of being forcibly removed from what the white's called Crowville in Vicksburg, Mississippi. She tells the story of how African Americans lived in the town and how they were making