Poor Little Black Fellow

Topics: Black people, African American, Short story Pages: 8 (989 words) Published: December 3, 2014
Poor Little Black
Fellow
As analyzed through Hughes’ essay
“The Negro Artist and the Racial
Mountain”

An Overview
 In your upcoming assignment, you will have to choose
another Hughes story and use one of the three previous
essays as a lens to determine if your chosen story succeeds
in the criteria set up in the essay of your choice
 Tonight, we will analyze Poor Little Black Fellow through Hughes’ essay “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain,” and develop and argument as to whether or not Hughes’
short story accomplishes the criteria set up by the essay
 In this presentation, we will focus on the main characters within the story, determine if they fit Hughes’ criteria, and then determine if the overall text is successful
 I have my own argument in mind, but this discussion is not just limited to what I believe is right, so feel free to make your own argument when we bring up key points

The Negro Artist and the Racial
Mountain
Main Ideas
 The standard that “white is right” has been engrained in the negro household— “don’t be black,” an idea that there is no beauty in the negro race; although their skin is black, they strive to be white in their souls

 Hughes shows that Negros don’t want to associate
themselves with any “black” art—don’t be too black, and make sure the white people are pleased
 These ideas have created a mountain for the negro artist to overcome
 Hughes notes that when the negro artist climbs over the mountain, he has a plethora of “unused material ready for art”



However, to reach these materials, the negro artist must not be ashamed of who he is—he must embrace the beautiful
and the ugly with pride and not be afraid of what people may say about what he chooses to write about

Poor Little Black Fellow
Summary
 When Arnie becomes an orphan at a young age, the  Pembertons decide to raise him —it is their Christian  duty after all
 Growing up, Arnie wasn’t able to do much —join Boy  Scouts, play with other kids and he wasn ’t invited to any  parties—but the Pembertons and the other white 
people made sure to “be very nice to him.”
 However, as Arnie grows closer to adulthood, his  parents take him to France—there he meets a group of  people, black and white, that treat him and everyone  else as equal, and the treatment he receives is truly  kind. Here, Arnie falls in love with a white woman

 After taking his girlfriend to dinner, the Pembertons are  shocked, and a fight ensues, revealing the true colors of  the Pembertons
 Arnie stays in France so he can marry his white girlfriend

Applying Hughes’ essay to the
story
A focus on the characters
 The main characters in the story, the Pembertons and Arnie, both play two separate roles when it comes to creating the
mountain and struggling to climb over it
 In this discussion, the argument will be made that the
Pembertons create the racial mountain in Arnie’s life. How are their actions, beliefs, and verbal manner towards Arnie? How is it that the Pembertons create the racial mountain for Arnie to face?  After setting up the Pembertons as Arnie’s racial mountain, is Arnie able to completely overcome his obstacle, or does he also fall into believing that “white is right?” In other words, does the end of the story prove Arnie’s pride while other parts of the story show his shame?

The Pembertons
 Arguments for how the Pembertons set up the racial mountain:  Why do the Pembertons decide to raise Arnie? What term do they use when  they refer to Arnie? What does this show about how they feel about him?  When Arnie is growing up, what kind of treatment do they give Arnie? Is it  genuine? Interpreting Hughes’ essay, how does this treatment of Arnie come into  play with the racial mountain? In other words, what do the Pembertons (or white  people) want from Arnie? Think about the end of the story.  Where did Arnie stay when living with the Pembertons? Where did they send ...
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