The Ways of White Folks: Stories

The Ways of White Folks: Stories

3.5 8
by Langston Hughes
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In these acrid and poignant stories, Hughes depicted black people colliding--sometimes humorously, more often tragically--with whites in the 1920s and '30s.


From the Trade Paperback edition.  See more details below

Overview

In these acrid and poignant stories, Hughes depicted black people colliding--sometimes humorously, more often tragically--with whites in the 1920s and '30s.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Sacred Fire

If you are not yet familiar with Langston Hughes, then his collection The Ways of White Folks (named in homage to Du Bois's classic The Souls of Black Folk) is the perfect introduction to his mordant wit and unerring eye for detail and his sly and direct prose.

These stories move from poignant to funny, to seething with rage, often within a paragraph. And life, as it is painted here, is bleak and unchanging until death. Hughes's characters inhabit a world where people are mean because they can be, and where hard work is all that is guaranteed; these were the harsh realities for blacks in America in the twenties and thirties. If, as Du Bois contended in his book, "the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line," this collection allows Hughes to illustrate that point time and again. He demonstrates to white readers what he and his black readers knew: "White folks is white folks, South or North, North or South." This is the concept he used to structure his seemingly mundane yet tragic tales.

"Cora Unashamed" reveals how lifelong servitude can render the servant almost invisible, even to herself. In "Passing," a mixed-race black passes for white, forever denying his race and family: "I felt like a dog, passing you downtown last night and not speaking to you. You were great, though, didn't give a sign that you even knew me, let alone that I was your son."

From North to South, light to dark, prosperous to dirt poor, all the stories are bound together and made powerful by the fact that they were all regular occurrences at that time in the United States. Within his simple stories, Hughes offered a barbed and trenchant analysis of white behavior and black behavior. Like his poems, the cruel accuracy of The Ways of White Folks is a reminder to Americans of some hard truths about the ridiculous and tragic ways skin color warps our lives.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307806574
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/07/2011
Series:
Vintage Classics
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
312,535
File size:
2 MB

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The Ways of White Folks 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's been a while since I've read this book and here I am trying to attain it once more. The way Mr. Hughes writes; so vivid and real. It's almost as if you, yourself were living in 30's Harlem, standing right next to the characters as they experience every day of life and discover the boundless wonders and autrocities that thrived in 1930's America. A great collection.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a fantastic book! It takes me a long time to read a book, but I read this one quickly. I loved the story regarding the white woman who was sexually attracted to her black neighbor. Collected short stories which brings one right into the scenes. Vivid!