They Come and They Go


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Ashley Mitchell 7 25 09 SWC 100 Langston Hughes Paper The young new character F D in the Langston Hughes story They Come and They Go is introduced as Simple s cousin from Virginia He ran away from his home because of how his step father was treating him and because of disagreements he and his mother would get into The introduction of this character surprises the reader because we are so familiar with the present characters Simple s life is becoming less complicated he is finally agreeing to pay for a portion of his divorce so that he can marry his girlfriend Joyce He is not drinking as much and learning to better values and responsibility F D is a handsome smart responsible character that could bring out a different side of Simple a more dependable caring mature side of him Hughes introduces F D to illustrate to the reader another example of a black man and the affects of Jim Crow he shows a young black man with a great amount of potential and a successful future This character proves that Jim Crow does not only target a certain type of Black person but all black people There are many different variations of black people and each type deals with the affects of Jim Crow in a special ways Hughes exemplifies different types throughout his series of stories One example is the narrator who is college educated and could be categorized with the talented tenth The talented tenth is a theory introduced by W E B Dubois that separated the Negro race into percentages the top ten percent are the educated blacks that he felt have led and elevated the race The narrator falls into this category because the reader can tell by the way he speaks and how Simple speaks to him that he is educated I don t know I said I am not a sociologist Simple replied You s colleged Hughes 8 The narrator s type of character reacts in a proactive manner instead of being totally negative and complaining about the discrimination his type would try to change the situation Taking those obstacles and creating it into motivation to become educated and think of ways to make things better Even though the narrator is as successful as a black person could be back in the 1950 s he could at anytime be doomed by the ridiculous laws of Jim Crow but he does not allow this fact to discourage him or turn his attitude negative like Simple does The character Simple is another type of black person uneducated and more of a labor type worker He works drinks and has a handful of women He would be part of the ninety percent who is not really contributing to the rise of black people in Dubois s opinion Simple complains about how the white people keep him down and all the things that they do unfairly but does not do anything to try to change it I drink because I am lonesome Lonesome How can you be lonesome when you ve got plenty of friends and girl friends I m lonesome inside myself Hughes 12 The reader can recognize that Jim Crow has had a negative affect on Simple through his self mutilating drinking habits He uses alcohol to cope with how he feels about being black and the treatment of black people Jim Crow also isolates Simple from any place other than Harlem as he says in the story A Toast to Harlem I love Harlem it s so full of Negroes I feel like I ve got protection Hughes 20 Simple stay in Harlem because he feels safe he is surrounded by his own people and they won t Jim Crow him If anyone comes in his city and tries to use those laws against him he feels as if though he has protection Simple s attitude is especially pessimistic because of how he reacted to the discrimination his reaction is the same as many others who went through the same treatment in the 50 s In the story They Come and They Go the character F D is introduced he is a new type of black person Hughes uses this character as a model of a new man F D has experienced Jim Crow in the south and still has great potential and great sense He has not allowed that reality to alter how successful or happy he will be He comes to the North within a week of his stay has already found a job and impressing all of the previous characters He is having a huge impact on Simple to the point where he is changing some of his habits With somebody around to talk to I don t spend so much dough in bars anymore as early as Joyce goes to bed Hughes used the new example of a lovable character to give the reader another example of the affects of Jim Crow After learning about F D and the trouble with his step father his mother and him never knowing his father the reader starts to hope that things will get better for him in the end Unfortunately the exact opposite happens Didn t I tell you F D got his draft call

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