Analysis Of Langston Hughes 's ' Father And Son ' Essay

Analysis Of Langston Hughes 's ' Father And Son ' Essay

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In the story “Father and Son,” Langston Hughes presents Cora as an African American woman that is the mother of her slave owner’s, Colonel Norwood, children. She destabilizes traditional gender roles by acting crazy to help her son, Bert, after he murders his father, Colonel Norwood. Though she doesn’t have nearly as much input as the men in her society, she is a central female character because she makes herself seem crazy to elicit fear and to manipulate the white men into thinking she is unintelligent. Her self empowerment intensifies due to her perseverance in helping her son. She changes from a typical reticent African American woman to a confident and smart woman by coming up with a plan to save Bert from the lynching and inflicting authority over him. Cora disrupts gender norms by using her impediments of being an African American, female slave to her advantage by acting crazy to enable her to mislead the white folk, protect her son from the white mob, and survive in a racially divided, male dominated society.
In the beginning of their relationship, Cora felt something like love for Colonel Norwood and he for her because they seemed to be drawn to each other. For example, when Colonel spotted her outside at night, Cora’s “mouth opened… In the shadow of the live oak tree there by the road” (Hughes 217). Hughes uses the diction of the “shadow” and the “moon” to create a perfect moonlight embrace. Cora’s Aunt Tobie advises her to “[take] some pride about yo’self” before she goes over to the Big House (Hughes 215). Cora looked her best to be attractive and to catch Colonel’s attention. Colonel Norwood “felt something like love for her” because he fathered her children and had an intimate relationship with her. Cora had “given h...


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... from the Colonel to avoid any confrontation. She wanted him to be like Willie, her eldest son, and just obey everything Colonel ordered. But there was a sharp turn when Bert killed the Colonel because she realized Colonel was always going to be part of the white mob. He would always be “runnin’ ma po’ little helpless Bert through de fields in de dark for to lynch him and to kill him” (Hughes 247). Cora learns to defy the Colonel and his people to fight for her son. She gains a new sassy attitude when she refers to the white folk. For example, she said, “is that all you wanted to say to me?” (Hughes 249). Through Bert and the Colonel’s death, Cora learns to be bold and to take care of her son. Hughes efficiently characterizes Cora as selfless, crazy, and brave throughout the story to show her devotion to protecting her son and her change of behavior towards Colonel.

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