Langston Hughes' On the Road

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Langston Hughes' "On the Road"

In Langston Hughes, "On the Road" the Sargeant is a homeless Black man that is desperate for food and shelter. In his desperation, Sargeant goes to the church to refuge, but there is no one at the Church to help him get refuge. Although Sargent is living in a time where the depression is in existence amongst all people, Black and White, he finds no one to help him. Sargent goes to the Church because the Church helps people. However, because Sargeant is Black and the Church is populated by a White congregation, he is rejected. In the story " One the Road", one of the people: A big black unemployed Negro holding onto our church... "The idea"! This represents that Sargent wants the benefits of the white society, but because of racism he was not allowed the opportunity to acquire the benefits. When Sargent was holding on to the Church, this represents his relentlessness and striving that he had to endure to live in a society in which discrimination and racism existed. He held on to the Church's doors because he was holding on to the American dream in which all people have the right to receive the same treatment regardless of color. Sargent knew he was no longer a slave, so when he was holding on to the Church's doors to be let in. He wanted to be fed and accepted into a society that did not want him.

In his persistence of wanting to be accepted, the Sargent caused the Church to collapse. Once the Church fell down, Christ came off the cross, and symbolically this represents freedom. "They have kept me nailed on a cross for nearly two thousand years(Hughes 619)." Victory invokes a feeling of freedom. Therefore, when the white converts kept Christ on the cross for two thousand years, they kept ...

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... "Sargeant grabbed, but not for anything so weak as a broken door. He grabbed for one of the tall stone pillars beside the grabbed at it and caught it. And held it" (Hughes 618) As I read this, I wanted to know what the Sargeant wanted. When I asked myself this question, white poeple said: "A big black umemployed Negro holding on to our Church!... "The idea(618)!" I realized he was holding on because he wanted the benefits of this white society that he was entitiled to.

There is interaction between the text and the reader. If there were no interaction between the text and the reader, people would not read. Iser made a very good point that the text is not only in motion, but the reader is too. The reader's perception of the text is what makes the story come alive, and what enable readers to write and analyze different ideologies that are presented in a text.
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