Langston Hughes and Jesse B. Simple

Topics: African American, Langston Hughes, Harlem Renaissance Pages: 3 (1101 words) Published: May 8, 2002
"Lansgton Hughes and Jesse B. Semple"

In the early 1940s an African American writer by the name of Langston Hughes, who flourished during the Harlem Renaissance in New York, had established a character in his short story writings named Jesse B. Semple. Through these short stories he used this character to represent the black man of his times. However the question remains, is Jesse B. Semple an accurate representation of the black man of 1940s? This question can best be answered by looking at the conditions of society during that time period, what the mind set of the black man in that era and comparing it to the representation that Hughes created with Jesse B. Semple.

Langston Hughes was born on February 1st, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri. He started education at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. He went on to write and publish his first work, a poem called, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" in Crisis magazine. He then continued his education at Columbia University in New York in 1921. He then lived for sometime in Paris and after returning to the United States, he worked in Washington D.C. as a busboy. Later after that, Vachel Lindsay discovered Hughes literary talents. Hughes talents did not only exist in poetry, he also expanded his talent into music, play writing, and short stories, for example the "Simple" stories. His most prominent work however was written and published during the Harlem Renaissance a time where many other African-American authors were showcasing their work and being published. Hughes however, stood above the rest with his multiple talents and work which spread across the board. The white society of America at the time of the Harlem Renaissance and years after began to label him as a radical. Hughes remained extremely prolific to the very end of his life. Hughes published over forty books, including a series of children's books. However, if you add his translations and his many anthologies of black writing, the amount of books he has published...

Cited: Hughes, Langston, The Best of Simple. New York, NY: Hill and Wang, 1961
Meltzer, Milton, Langston Hughes: A Biography. New York, NY: Thomas Y. Crowell
Company, 1968
Klotman, Phyllis R. "Jesse B. Semple and the Narrative Art of Langston Hughes."
Critical Essays on Langston Hughes. Boston, Massachusetts: G. K. Hall & Co.
Jackson, Andrew P. "James Langston Hughes (1902-1967)"
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