Influence of Relatives in Not Without Laughter by Langston Hugues Essay

Influence of Relatives in Not Without Laughter by Langston Hugues Essay

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Not Without Laughter by Langston Hughes is a novel about an African-American boy’s coming of age during the early 20th century. The narrative takes us through the childhood and adolescent years of the quiet and intelligent Sandy Rogers. Just as any other child, Sandy is greatly influenced by the people he meets, the places he goes to, and his experiences in different situations as a black child who is looked down upon in a dominantly white hegemony. Though all the people we meet in life affect us in some way, it is a common fact that those who are closest to us, our constant companions, are the driving forces that shape how we turn out to be as adults. In this narrative, two characters who influence Sandy in a great way are Aunt Hager and Aunt Tempy. Aunt Hager is his maternal grandmother who is the center of Sandy’s life for a majority of the time in the story. She provides for him and becomes his guardian when his lovelorn mother leaves him to be reunited with her husband, Jimboy Rogers. Aunt Tempy is a maternal aunts who is merely a distant and foreboding presence in Sandy’s life until the death of Aunt Hager, where she fills in the vacuum of his guardianship. Therefore, in Not Without Laughter by Langston Hughes, the two characters Aunt Hager and Aunt Tempy contribute to the protagonist’s coming of age by influencing his morals and his education, and thus, his character.
By being the two main characters who take on the role of guardianship for Sandy when his own parents are too wrapped up in themselves and their issues, Hager and Sandy are the two main authorities in the critical parts of Sandy’s childhood and adolescence. Hager had been present in Sandy’s life since birth till she dies of old age. The time spent with her sha...


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...iends do not care about being educated and aspire to make easy money, Sandy dreams of becoming a teacher and spends his time philosophically questioning what he sees around him(186-188). In the end, when his mother Annjee is almost about to ruin Hager and Tempy’s hope for a bright and intellectual future for Sandy, Aunt Harriet pitches in and promises that she would provide for Sandy’s education so that Aunt Hager’s dreams for him would be realized (217). Therefore, the moral and intellectual effect on the protagonist by the characters Aunt Hager and Aunt Tempy in Not Without Laughter pave the way for Sandy’s adult life as he grows up under their care. Thus reiterating the importance of the effect that our close companions in our life have on how we turn out to be.





Works Cited

Hughes, Langston. Not Without Laughter. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2008. Print.

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