If He Hollers Let Him Go

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America has gone through many changes since its independence in 1776. However, as America was in the midst of its’ Second World War, it became obvious that one thing that had yet to be entirely solved, racial discrimination. In the novel, If He Hollers Let Him Go, Chester Himes creates a wide variety of characters that all have a different, but concrete, view point on race and racial discrimination. The novel is about Bob Jones, a black man, who moves to California during World War II because he is tired of the extensive racial discrimination in Ohio. Bob begins to work at Atlas shipyard, one of the many shipyards that are responsible for producing ships, which was crucial during the time of war. Bob eventually becomes a leaderman in the shipyard and receives the perks that go along with the job, such as a car, exemption from the draft, and some authority. Bob, however, never truly feels that he is equal to all the other white leadermen in the shipyard. Bob also has a girlfriend named Alice Harrison, who almost looks white. She believes that the problem in America is not a racial problem, but a gender problem. Her mother, Mrs. Harrison, believes that if the black community works harder, they can earn a higher social class. Throughout the novel, Himes displays how gender, class, and status influence what these characters think about race and racial discrimination. Mrs. Harrison has a very well off family that lives in west Los Angeles, and has never had to work for a living. Any black family that lived on the west side was known by the community to have a high class. “When you asked a Negro where he lived, and he said on the West Side, that was supposed to mean he was better than the Negros that live on the south side; it was like the white folks giving a Beverly Hills address”( 48). Right off the bat Mrs. Harrison is established as quite snobby, she even goes far enough to say that “we could do without some of the money...You know Charles, our chauffeur, was...
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