Tales of Simple

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Langston Hughes is represented in Black Voices by the Tales of Simple. Hughes

first presents his character Jessie B. Simple in the Forward: Who is Simple? In this tale the reader is given its first look at the character Jessie B. Simple who is a black man that represents almost the "anybody or everybody" of black society. Simple is a man who needs to drink, to numb the pain of living life. "Usually over a glass of beer, he tells me his tales... with a pain in his soul... sometimes as the old blues says... Simple might be laughing to keep from crying" (98, 99).

Jessie B. Simple, also known as Simple, has just the right combination of qualities

to be Black America's new spokesman and unsung hero. Simple seems to possess just

enough urban humor and cynicism, down-home simplicity, naivete, and "boy-next-door innocence" that Simple easily becomes a character that hard-working, average, everyday people can relate to. He quickly becomes this sort of Black Every man whose bunions hurt all the time and whose thoughts are relatively quite simple, yet he is a man who rises above these facts and has a perception that shows the man to have great wisdom and incredible insight. And although he maintains seriousness for all his wisdom to come through; his presentation of the facts is given in a humorous manner. In Bop, "That's why so many white folks do not get their heads beat just for being white. But me --- a cop is liable to grab me almost anytime and beat my head- just for being colored " (105). This side to Simple is an example of Hughes attempt to give simple facts or actual truth but instead of telling these things harshly and angrily he tries to sweeten them with a little sarcastic humor. At times, Simple is full of pain. "I have had so many hardships in this life," said Simple, "that it is a wonder I'll live until I die" (105). This comment by Simple is one of Ramsey 2

many that help portray him as a simple man who has been both mentally and...
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