On the Road Essay

Topics: Race and Ethnicity, Black people, African American Pages: 2 (616 words) Published: October 2, 2006
Racism and prejudice have plagued society for countless years. Some people do not acquire the job they desire, and others are victims of racial profiling. Many of us have been judged and condemned for being the wrong race. In "On the Road" by Langston Hughes, Hughes uses Sargeant—the main character—to prove the barriers of racism can be broken. The story takes place during the Great Depression, a time period where Caucasians experienced life as a minority.

To begin, Hughes applies symbolism and imagery to demonstrate that color should not be a factor in our society. In the short story, snow represents the white race and their attitudes towards African Americans. The snow is described as cold, wet, and sticky. Cold connotes how the Caucasians treat the African Americans. Wet witnesses the African American's feelings of dreadfulness towards the Caucasians. And sticky signifies the frustrating feelings African Americans get when they are victims of racial prejudice. However, Sargeant "was not interested in snow" and her never noticed the snow "falling white and flaky against the night" (Hughes par. 1).Basically, Sargeant is not concerned with how the Caucasians treat him—color is not an object to him. He only desires to survive the depression. Hughes yearns for everyone to think like Sargeant, and not to discriminate against others because of their skin color.

Hughes places Sargeant through quite a few hardships in order to diminish racism. Primarily, Sargeant struggles to find shelter at Reverend Dorset's house. Seeing the "human piece of night" Reverend Dorset turns Sargeant away. Reverend Dorset represents how the door is set against Sargeant and other African Americans. Sergeant's following hardship occurs at a church. The completely Caucasian church will not accept Sargeant because he is "A big black unemployed Negro. . ." (Hughes par. 17). While the police attempt to remove Sargeant from the church, he holds on tightly to a stone pillar. Sargeant...
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