This Morning, This Evening, so Soon

Topics: African American, Black people, Race and Ethnicity Pages: 3 (993 words) Published: April 6, 2008
On the eve of the narrator and his family's departure for the United States after twelve years of residence in Paris, the narrator is being chided by his wife and visiting sister about his nightmares. He is worried about his return to the racist United States after such a long absence and what effect it will have on his multiracial family and his career. “This Morning, This Evening, So Soon,” concerns a black American expatriate living in Paris during the late 1950s. He has lived there for many years, marrying a white Swedish woman whom he met there, and fathering a son with her. He has even established a successful career in France as an actor and singer, and he is recognized as a celebrity wherever he goes. But now he has been invited to make a series of appearances in the United States, and has been offered a very lucrative Hollywood movie deal; so, as the story opens, he is about to return to the U.S. for the first time since the death of his mother eight years before. He is also taking Harriet and Paul; the boy has heard all his life about the magic of America, and is tremendously excited to see it. But what our narrator cannot convey to Paul, because how could one explain this to a child? -is that the social and political climate for blacks in this pre-Civil Rights era is not the same as it is in France. In France, the fact that our black narrator is married to a white woman is considered perfectly normal; in America, it was, in many places, still illegal, and mixed-race couples could expect to be subject to stares, if not downright harassment. The narrator recalls a visit to New York at the time of his mother's death when he had to ask whether a certain hotel "would take us" in other words, would rent rooms to blacks. He remembers, also, an incident involving his sister Louisa, in which four black teens were riding in a car in Alabama and the police stopped them because they thought that one of the girls was white; the policemen made her expose herself to...
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