Tales Of Simple Essay

This essay has a total of 858 words and 4 pages.

Tales Of Simple


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 physically
broken-down by society but who in Census also says that, in spite of all the hardships he
has experienced, he is still here. Hughes, by using Simple, shows his discontent of the
black man's world, yet in showing these feelings Hughes never portrays himself to be
angry, overcome by fear, or overwhelmed by racial paranoia. During these desperate and
hard years (post-war years), Simple who is from the urban ghetto is himself free of the
problems that plague many ghetto dwellers during this time. Simple is a man who avoids the
inhibitions of welfare, crime, and drugs which is something that many of his neighbors do
not do, yet in no way is Simple ever shown to possess the intelligence of a genius, not
even for his seemingly


Continues for 2 more pages >>




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