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January 20, 2013

Conflict on the Road with Langston Hughes


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Class,

In the comment box below, . . .

. . . the note-taker/scribe from each group should retype the question your group discussed today in class and provide an answer with quotations from the text to support your answers. You MUST put the page number (or, paragraph number if there are no page numbers) in parentheses after any quotation used.

Enter your work on this text as prescribed in class. For example:

Remember: I have to "approve" all comments so you won't see it immediately after posting. After hitting submit, you should see a screen that confirms this.

We are beginning to use some concepts in our discussions that you may or may have had practice using before. I want to be sure that you have a clear understanding of the words we use in class (no more blank stares!) so be sure you are looking up words you don't feel you yet "own" (means, making it a part of your personal vocabulary) by utilizing your dictionaries to the fullest.

Dr. Hobbs

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Posted by lhobbs at January 20, 2013 11:55 PM

Readers' Comments:


Students of Spring 2008,

If you are submitting to this blog post for your final exam, remember to add a few comments (after a line separator) at the END of your entry after the works cited (should be the FINAL, not first, revision of your term paper) explaining why this post was one of the most appropriate to your paper's topic/thesis. Don't forget that you need to do this for two blog entries and you need to submit a paragraph informing me of which two blog entries you submitted to and an explanation why to turnitin.com. All of these steps need to be completed to get credit for the final exam.

Good luck,

Dr. Hobbs

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." ~ William Butler Yeats

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From 13 February 2008: f you missed class tonight, or didn't take notes, a short recap:

We started with a freewrite. The instructions were:

"Without consulting your texts, freewrite in your journal on the following subject (freewrite means to keep writing until I say stop). If we have time before the end of our meeting tonight, I will ask you to share your responses with the class."

The setup was this: One of the tools for understanding, exploring, and discussing literature is something called external parallelism, or “allusion.” An allusion is “a reference in a literary work to a person, place, or thing in history or another work of literature. Allusions are often indirect or brief references to well-known characters or events.” For example, in Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus’s The Nanny Diaries (2002), recently made into a film, an umbrella alludes to an earlier series of literature, Mary Poppins (1934) by P. L. Travers. Joel Schumacher’s The Lost Boys (1987), a film about young vampires, alludes to J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan (1904).

Your prompt was this: What allusions did you discover in any of the five short stories we have read thus far for this course (in particular, the most recently assigned one)? Take a minute and then write about where you may have seen or heard similar details in other narratives, whether they were cinematic (film), lyrical (song), or literary. Remember, myths, parables, fables, fairy tales, nursery rhymes, children’s stories, and religious stories are all fair game.

We then had a quiz which asked the following questions:

Question 1: Who authored the short story titled “On the Road”?

Question 2: Who is the protagonist of “On the Road”? The Reverend Mr. Dorsett, Sargeant, Christ, or “the cop”?

Question 3: True or False: Once Christ and Sargeant met, they remained traveling companions until the end of the story.

Question 4: In “On the Road,” a church falls down. Briefly, explain how this happened.


After our freewrite and quiz, I lectured on some of the "tools" used in the field of literature to help interpret text. These included:

(1) Formalism/New Criticism

(2) Historicism/New Historicism

(3) Psychological theory

(4) Structuralism/Mythology

(5) Theories of Inequity: Gender, Ethnicity

(6) Class/Postcolonialism; Poststructuralism/Deconstruction

If you didn't get the notes on these, I suggest you do a little googling to get this terminology squared away. We will be referring to it again and again throughout the course.

After an exercise with theory and the last five short stories we read, we discussed as a class, the concepts of “irony,” “dualisms,” “symbolism,” “(external parallelism) allusion,” and “internal parallel imagery.”

Irony: when a word or concept is really the opposite of what it says it is supposed to be. For example, when an ambulance runs over someone. Or, when a famous musical composer, like Beethoven, is deaf. Can you think of any more?

Dualism: concepts broken down into contrasting opposites. Polarizations. Hot and Cold; Good and Evil; Right and Wrong; and Masculine and Feminine, Mind and Body, etc. Can you think of any more?

Symbolism: For example, if you read a story and a grim reaper appears, what does “it” symbolize. The concept could be adapted to a person wearing all black. Can you think of any more?

Allusion (External Parallelism): When one concept is familiar to or reminiscent of another. For example, in the film A.I., there are many allusions to Pinocchio; in the film E.T., there are many allusions to Jesus Christ; in the film Pretty Woman, there are many allusions to Cinderella and other fairy tales. If you know the story of Superman, there are allusions to the story of Moses. Can you think of any more?

Internal Parallel Imagery (within the story): Internal parallelism involves structural congruity between two or more linguistic, narrative, or other complexes in a work. For example, chaos in society may be parallel to a storm in nature; an individual’s mental conflict might be parallel to civil strife in society; the separation of a family may be parallel to the division of the land (e.g., by a river). One might foreshadow the other.

After our break, we listed to some Jazz music (Oscar Peterson) while we polished off a great activity in pair work that looked at these concepts (in a series of questions) regarding Langston Hughes's "On the Road."

The activity assignments were to investigate:

1. Ironies in “On the Road”

2. Dualisms/Polarities in “On the Road”

3. Symbolism of Doors in “On the Road”

4. Symbolism of the color White in “On the Road”

5. Symbolism of Stone in “On the Road”

6. Symbolism of imprisonment in “On the Road.” What are the functions of prisons? Is Sargeant a prisoner before he goes to jail? What about Jesus?

7. Allusions (External Parallelism): Do you know the story of “the good Samaritan” as revealed in the New Testament? How is this relevant to Hughes’s “On the Road”?

8. Allusions (External Parallelism): Do you know the story of “Samson” as revealed in the Old Testament? How is that story similar to the scene when Sargeant collapses the building by pulling on the pillars? How are the stories different or reversed?

9. (Internal) Parallel Imagery: How are the actions of Sargeant similar to the actions of Christ? How are they different?

10. Should a Christian experience some sort of satisfaction from his association with Jesus Christ? For a while, Sargeant and Christ are “fellows” on the same path to the railroad. What happens? Do Sargeant and Christ have joy from each other’s company?

11. (Internal) Parallel Imagery: In the beginning of the story, Sargeant goes up to various buildings, hoping for something and gets another. At the end of the story, in his fantasy, he repeats this situation on the train car. Discuss how the situation at the end is similar to the situations at the beginning of the story.


Please note that the following announcements were made:

No class meeting on February 20th. We will resume meeting on the 27th. You will need to have the entire novel read by then. Expect a longer quiz. Not only should you know the author, title, and year of publication, but also the major characters, the plot, and any subplots.

HOMEWORK:

Read entire novel by the 27th. We would normally discuss the middle on the the 20th but we won’t be meeting that night. For your homework, I want you to discuss on the English-Blog, Langston Hughes’s “On the Road” and the idea of journey as a metaphor. There is a literal journey that Sargeant makes in the story, from point A to point B. He has a goal, or some destination in mind. But, there are also metaphorical or symbolic journeys. I don’t want to say that there is just one. Depending on interpretation, different people might find different ones.

This assignment will be similar to that last one where I asked you find conflict, as a theme. This time, I want you to think about the word "journey" (look it up in several dictionaries if that helps) and think about the theme of journey as a metaphor in “On the Road.” If you find similarities in Sargeant’s symbolic journey and other literary journeys you know about, you are free to bring those in to your discussion. Since this homework will cover two lessons, I’ll expect a longer response, more like four paragraphs. Think of it as a short essay. It will be due when we meet again. This will practice our skills in identifying allusion, parallelism and will prepare our thoughts for the journey aspect of Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, a story that takes place during the great Jazz Age but in Europe.

I put a few optional readings on J-Web, under web links, that might help you get started with this. I will provide feedback for those who get their responses in early (not the day of class), or for those who did not follow instructions. If you didn't get feedback, it doesn't mean your response isn't acceptable--it just means you probably submitted it too close to class time to get feedback from me.

Good luck!

~Dr. Hobbs

*NOTE: As with all reading responses submitted to the English-Blog for EL 267, you must first submit the response to the proper space on www.turnitin.com (the date for which it was assigned). To get credit, the response must be present in both places by the deadline. Submissions to only one will not receive credit, so beware!
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In Langston Hughes “On the Road” the main character “Sargeant” goes on not only the literal sense of a journey, but a metaphorical sense. A metaphorical sense of a journey can be described as a journey you make to better yourself, or personal ordeals you endure with out stepping foot outside your home. An example of this can be through a dream, as it happened with Sargeant.

Sargeant is journeying literally through a small town looking for shelter, but it is not until he reaches the church that it appears he is metaphorically journeying through the rest of the story. When the police start pulling on Sargeant while he is holding onto the church and said church comes down to be more exact is where the metaphorical journey begins. This is also dependent on how the reader interprets the story.

In Sargeant’s dream journey he is walking with a stone Christ that he freed by tearing down the church. I felt this was symbolic of Sargeant getting to know his own views or lack there of on religion through this stone representation of Christ. Through the story, the stone Christ seems like a weak figure, and almost childish. This could represent how Sargeant views religion and its power.

Sargeant and Christ walk on each making their way to their own destinations. It is unclear where Christ is going exactly, just that he is heading towards Kansas City. Sargeant and Christ come upon a hobo jungle. Sargeant says “I can go sleep there” (Hughes 4). Sargeant explains to Christ that he can sleep there because there are no doors there to keep him out. I found it odd that it was when Sargeant finally found a place that wouldn’t block him out that it was then that the stone Christ left him. When Sargeant wakes up as the freight train goes by and he grabs on only to find that it is full of cops. This could represent that the white power has gotten in the way or where he needs to go. Such as in the literal journey, the whites wouldn’t let him stay with them for the night, and now the white authority is stopping him from getting on the train and getting away.

Sargeant wakes up with a headache in the prison, giving away that he hasn’t really traveled with the stone Christ at all, and that the police took him to jail from the church. Sargeant claims that he will tear down the doors that bind him, just as he did to the church that kept him out in the cold.

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Comments from your instructor:

A nice read - I appreciate your effort on this!

~Lee Hobbs

Posted by: Samantha G. at February 23, 2008 05:01 PM

Amanda Farabaugh
English-Blog/Turnitin.com
Idea of Journey as a Metaphor in “On the Road”


A journey is defined as a passage to another stage, a distance traveled, going from point A to point B, or a trip. Sargeant is the protagonist in the short story by Langston Hughes. In his short story, Sargeant is on a journey both in reality and non-reality. By non-reality, I am referring to his thinking and the metaphor that Langston Hughes describes. Sargeant is a homeless African American trying to seek refuge in a town. He starts by asking a man, who to the eye is a man of holy, but in Sargeant’s eyes, the man of holy is being rude and inconsiderate. He tells Sargeant to try a shelter, in which all are full. Sargeant continues his journey and finds himself at the steps of a church- a church that is designated to white men and women. Although, he has come across yet another obstacle, the doors have been locked and no way to get in. He has a confrontation with men of the law and the citizens only to end in a meeting with Jesus. Jesus and the protagonist walk briefly with one another until they’ve reached the railroad yard. This is where Jesus departs and leaves Sargeant to continue on his journey. Sargeant seeks refuge in a hobo jungle, only to waken in a jail cell thinking he had really meet Jesus and pulled the pillar off the church. Was it a dream he was having or not?
One journey that is noticeable would be Sargeant traveling, trying to find a place to rest. He starts at one point in the beginning of the story and ends up in a jail cell. This is showing that he had made a journey into town and to the jail, just so he could find a place to rest. His intentions were not going to jail, though under the circumstances he had put himself into; he ended up there. This type of journey is showing a person traveling from one place to another. This is showing that he has a reason to travel and to find his end.
Another journey that Sargeant faces is between the white men and women and he. Sargeant is an African American man who is in a town, which is full of racism. He must journey through the racism and hardships that comes his way. Going from point A to point B is easier to overcome than journeying through racism. Sargeant needs to muster up his energy and will power to over come the hatred and troubles that are thrown at him.
These are quite common journeys in other novels, short stories or movies. A big example, one that everyone knows is the “Wizard of Oz”. Dorothy, our protagonist is on a journey to go home, though her journey seems made up or all just in her head. This is similar to Sargeant. He is on a journey to find a place to rest, when he dreams he pulls down a church with his bare hands and then meets Jesus. Only difference is that Dorothy was already home and Sargeant is temporally in a place to rest. Another example would be “The Last Unicorn”. This is an animated movie that shows a unicorn on a journey trying to find others like her. She is faced with a problem of the Red Bull; a beast that lures unicorns into the ocean, to stay there for all eternity.
In the majority of novels or short stories, the protagonist is in some sort of journey. The protagonist must make their way to a destined place, or they must make their way through life dealing with pain, hurt, sorrow just to live and keep a happy thought.

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Comments from your instructor:

This also shows some thoughtful engagement with the text.

~Lee Hobbs

Posted by: A. Farabaugh at February 25, 2008 05:00 PM

Journey as a Metaphor


The word journey is defined on Dictionary.com as “a traveling from one place to another or a passage or progress from one stage to another.” The word metaphor is also defined on Dictionary.com as “a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance.” In Langston Hughes’s “On the Road,” there are many journeys that Sargeant, the protagonist, walks. His journeys are physical journey’s that get him from point A to point B. But there are also metaphorical journeys that should be discussed.
First, there is a physical journey that Sargeant makes as he is walking through the story. He is walking from the freight train and is in search for food and shelter. In the beginning of the story, Sargeant is getting off a freight train and in the end of the story he is in a jail cell. The physical journey in the story is how Sargeant gets from the freight train to the jail cell. There is also a second physical journey that Sargeant completes. Sargeant completes a journey from unconsciousness to consciousness. When Sargeant was breaking down the door of the church, “the cops began to beat Sargeant over the head, and nobody protested” (Hughes, 1963, p. 2). This is where I believe that Sargeant entered unconsciousness and began a metaphorical journey.
After Sargeant gets beat over the head by the cops, he begins to dream. He dreams that he has pulled down the church on top of all the people who were pulling on him. Part of the metaphorical journey in “On the Road” is a fight against racism. Throughout the entire beginning of the story, Sargeant is pushed away and belittled by white people and, ironically, people of the church. Once Sargeant is knocked out, and begins to dream, he believes that he has triumphed over the white people. They can no longer shut a door on him because he has knocked the door down. (Hughes, 1963)
Another metaphorical journey that is present in “On the Road” is finding Christ. When Sargeant begins to dream and pulls down the church, Christ falls down from the cross and carries it on his back next to Sargeant. Sargeant and Christ have a conversation while walking down the street. During the conversation, Sargeant tells Christ that if he had more money, he would show him around. Christ replies saying, “I’ve been around” (Hughes, 1963, p. 3). This gives Sargeant the feeling that he has something in common with Christ and that they could be friends. Finding Christ in his dream helps Sargeant when he returns to the literal journey of the story and becomes conscious again. Sargeant says, “I wonder where Christ’s gone? I wonder if he’s gone to Kansas City?” (Hughes, 1963, p. 5)
In “On the Road” by Langston Hughes, I saw four journeys present in the story. Two journeys were literal; the journey from the freight train to the jail cell and the journey from unconsciousness to consciousness. There were also two metaphorical journeys; journey as a fight against racism and a journey in finding Christ.


Works Cited

Hughes, Langston. “On the Road.” Something in Common and Other Stories. New York: Hill, 1963. 207-12.

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Comments from your instructor:

Thanks for using a works cited section here (class, take note!). I like the analysis too.

~Lee Hobbs

Posted by: Christy B. at February 25, 2008 09:54 PM

Journey is defined in many different ways by different sources. According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, journey is defined as an act or instance of traveling from one place to another. In Langston Hughes’ “On the Road,” Sargeant goes on a journey throughout the story. Not only is there a literal journey, but there are metaphorical journeys as well. A metaphor is defined as a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them, according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary.
The first journey in “On the Road” that I found was Sargeant’s struggle to fit in as an African American man during the Jazz Age. This was a very tough time for blacks in America because the white people of this time were not accepting of African American people. Sargeant does not see a difference in blacks and whites, which is obvious to me in the first paragraph of the story. “When he got off the freight, one early evening during the depression, Sargeant never even noticed the snow.” (Hughes 1) When I first read the story, I did not even realize the contrast between the dark night and the white snow. This shows that trying to break the barrier between whites and blacks is a long journey for African American people.
Another metaphorical journey in “On the Road” is the journey of the American people through the depression. Times were rough for many during this time. Many people had no where to sleep, no food to eat, or warm clothes to wear. Sargeant was one of those people. “He was too hungry, too sleepy, too tired.” (Hughes 1) Sargeant tried several different places where he thought he would be able to keep warm. He first tried to go to the Reverend’s house to stay. The Reverend told him that he could not stay in his house, so Sargeant’s journey through the depression went on. He then went to the Church. Sargeant tried to sleep here as well, but was arrested when he tried to break down the door. At the end of his “journey,” Sargeant goes into the hobo jungle and spends the night.
One of the other journeys that I found in “On the Road” is the faith journey. Sargeant is portrayed in a way that he has a carry a heavy burden much like Christ did when he carried the cross. After the Church fell down, we were given the imagine of Sargeant walking down the street carrying one of the white stone pillars from the Church. This is the same way Christ carried his cross. “Sargeant got out from under the church and went walking up on the street with the stone pillar on his sholder…And threw the pillar six blocks up the street and went on” (Hughes 2). This shows that in a way Sargeant was freed of his burden of being suppressed by whites. In his eyes, he stood up for his own needs.
Not only did Sargeant go on a literal journey in “On the Road,” but there are many journeys that are Hughes incorporated without recognition. When I first read the story, I did not realize there was so much involved. After thinking about it when we were given this assignment, I found that there is a much deeper meaning to the story.

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Comments from your instructor:

Thoughtful argument here. Keep this up!

~Lee Hobbs

Posted by: Michelle E. at February 26, 2008 05:02 PM

Blog Post 2
Journey as a Metaphor

Journey as a Metaphor in “On the Road by Langston Hughes”
The idea of “journey” usually is defined as a long trip, with someone either walking, or using another form of transportation to get somewhere (Dictionary.com). However, there is also the idea of a deeper journey towards maturity, higher education, or spiritual enlightenment. Sargeant, the main character in this story, goes through many physical and emotional journeys throughout this short story.
A metaphor is a literal statement posed between two objects to express that they are similar or the same (Dictionary.com). Therefore, themes in life can be linked to themes in literature and vice versa. This is used constantly in the study of art, music, and written word.
The physical journeys the journeys he takes to find a place to stay, the short walk with Christ, and his journey past Christ to the eventual “train” he would grab onto. Although the lines are significantly blurred in the physical sense of Sargeant’s journey, there still remains the fact that they are presented as physical. This could be considered a metaphor for how humans physically deal with an issue. First, a human will innately seek help from another human, which explains why Sargeant first went to the preacher. If that fails, a human will seek a higher power if they believe in one, much like Sargeant seeks the church and walks with Christ. Lastly, a human will look by himself for guidance, which is exemplified in Sargeant searching for the train. This story is very similar to the novel Siddhartha by Herman Hesse where the main character searches for help from a higher power in the beginning, help from another in the middle when he meets a lover, and finally finds his help within himself at the end.
In the non-literal or non-physical sense Sargeant was in many other types of journeys. Another metaphor of journey is seen through racism. Sargeant tries to integrate himself into the world of Caucasians by trying to sleep in the white preacher’s house and then in the white church. This journey could also be considered a metaphor of racism. Christ sees no difference of color which also aids in the aforementioned description. In his ongoing journey to break the bonds of racism, he breaks down the church and begins to walk with Christ. Sargeant’s walk with Christ can be considered a part of his spiritual journey. The fact that Sargeant breaks down the white church and walks with Chrsit can also be seen as an overarching metaphor of the journey of racial and spiritual acceptance. Both of these non-physical metaphors of journey are integrated into the idea of the journey as a metaphor for life in the larger spectrum.


Works Cited
Hesse, Herman. Siddhartha. (Bantam Books, 1951).
journey. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved February 26, 2008, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/journey
metaphor. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved February 26, 2008, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/metaphor

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Comments from your instructor:

Thanks so much for bringing up Hesse's Siddhartha. I just read this before the semester started...isn't it great?

~Lee Hobbs

Posted by: Candice S at February 26, 2008 10:00 PM

Journeys mean different things to different people. When I surveyed each of my three roommates, I got a different answer from each of them. A journey could be a physical trip that ones make, a period of time, or emotional change over time. What one strives for on their journey could be positive or negative, yet one thing remains the same: each and every person (in real-life and literature) goes through journeys at one point or another. In Langston Hughes’s, “On the Road,” every character, from the Sargeant and Jesus, to Reverend Dorsett and the cruel white people are on a journey, some physically, some metaphorically, and some a combination of the two.

It is immediately evident from the first few lines of the story that the Sargeant is on a physical journey to find food and shelter. When it appears that he may have accomplished what he was looking for on this journey through a Reverend, he is only set on another journey (this time with specific directions from the Reverend) to the homeless shelter. It might appear that the Reverend is a static character incapable of experiencing a journey himself; however, this is not the case.

The Reverend is on a journey to becoming more tolerant of black people, a little at a time. Although he was not right in turning the Sargeant away, and he should have morally assisted him more, the Reverend made an attempt by giving the Sargeant directions: “Go right down this street four blocks and turn to your left, walk up seven and you’ll see the Relief Shelter” (Hughes 1). If he were not on this particular journey, he would have not answered the door at all, or, he would have simply said no and slammed the door. The white people and the cops are also on a journey of their own; their journey is one to make sure that black people are “kept down” and away from their church permanently. “‘A big black unemployed Negro holding onto our church!’ thought the people. ‘The idea!’” (Hughes 2).

Christ too is on a physical journey in the story, yet he does not know to where. The Sargeant’s physical journey to food and shelter could be compared to Christ’s journey to Calvary. They both walk a seemingly endless walk through uncomfortable conditions. Similarly, they are surrounded by people who know they need help and who know that what is happening is wrong, yet refuse to give it to them because they are different—Jesus a radical Jew, and Sargeant an unemployed black man. Similarly, both Christ’s journey to Calvary and Sargeant’s physical journey for food and shelter, as well as his metaphorical journey to overcome his status and skin color, seem pointless.

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Comments from your instructor:

First-rate response!

~Lee Hobbs

Posted by: Chera P at February 26, 2008 11:50 PM

T. Wineland
Professor Lee Hobbs
EL 267.01 American Literature 1915-Present
13 February 2008


In “On the Road,” by Langston Hughes, Sargeant begins his journey as a black man living amongst the circumstances in a white man’s world. He is forced to face the barriers put up before him by the white society. He is forced to acknowledge the existence of these barriers and either accept them or fight against them.

At first, Sargeant follows the rules of the white man and recognizes his limitations when he is turned down by Reverend Mr. Dorset when looking for a place to stay. However, when he reaches what he refers to as “the white folks’ church,” he begins to acknowledge that the only way for him to survive in this world is to fight the barriers placed before him by the white community. After all, a church is supposed to belong to God, not the white or black race.

Therefore, Sargeant refuses to accept the closed doors as boundaries placed before him and instead uses his bodily force to break the doors down. Even more so, by the end of Sargeant’s journey, while he is behind bars in jail, he ultimately accepts that life and its barriers will not keep him from moving forward, even if breaking them is a struggle.

The hobo jungle didn’t have doors so there was no question as to whether he would be accepted or refused. He knew there would be no struggle to take rest there. He knew that the doors closing him off from entry into the white man’s world would cause him great struggle in the future, but in his mind the fight became worth the potential gain.

Sargeant learned to recognize the barriers for what they truly represented, but instead of accepting their existence he vowed to not let them keep him from moving forward in his journey in life, because that was the only way he would survive.

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Comments from your instructor:

Good - there's a kernel here that I think can be developed even further!

~Lee Hobbs

Posted by: T. Wineland at February 27, 2008 01:38 PM

The protagonist in Langston Hughes’ “On the Road” has likely been involved in a physical, emotional, and spiritual journey his entire life. Sargeant is a strong black man who is, first and foremost, facing a struggle against the odds. His intimidating size and strength coupled with his anger at the sense of injustice rouses fear and concern in others, which inadvertently sends him on a journey of a legal nature. The emotional toll of the spiritual journey that follows ultimately strengthens Sargeant’s faith and determination, resulting in a man who will probably become virtually unstoppable.

Sargeant’s most recent journey has seen him step off a train into an unwelcoming town whose inhabitants do not seem to share his sentiment for simple, all-encompassing Christian kindness. His physical walk through the streets to find shelter, a basic human necessity and inalienable right, sends him on a quest that only reinforces his beliefs that he must venture far and wide in order to create a path that others can follow. The refusal of any outstretched hand angers him to the point that he questions his faith, which sends him on a spiritual journey.

Sargeant’s walk at the beginning of the story through nighttime snow leads him to a church that he thinks would surely offer him shelter for the night. The locked doors, another denial of his chance to move easily along his path, frustrate him to the point of blind destruction. His “damage” to the church leads him to jail. These ideas are presented rather quickly in the story, providing the reader with a sense that the entire piece will be one journey after another.

At some point, after the damage to the church and prior to his waking up in jail, Sargeant has a vision or dream of meeting and traveling temporarily with Jesus. At once, Sargeant is elevated to the level of Jesus, walking alongside the prophet throughout a portion of his journey. While nothing in the story seems to faze Sargeant, his meeting of Jesus seems almost expected, as if he met up with an old friend. This walk almost solidifies the spiritual level on which Sargeant functions, as Jesus is brought to a very real level of humanity.

With one journey leading directly to and overlapping another, Sargeant travels many miles in just a single night. Arriving weak and exhausted, the end of the story find him strong and ready to take on the world. Although one can only surmise the depth and number of literal and figurative journeys on which Sargeant ventured, it can be suggested that he grows immensely.

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Comments from your instructor:

Well stated! I couldn't have put it better myself.

~Lee Hobbs

Posted by: Vivian Lee C. at February 27, 2008 02:08 PM

There are several levels of journey in Langston Hughes’ short story “On the Road.” Firstly there is a literal, physical journey that the main character, Sargeant, goes through- namely his travels from one place to another. Sargeant also undergoes a metaphorical journey from the accepting man in the beginning to the fighter of the end. Finally, Sargeant’s journey is a metaphor for all the anti-segregation feelings of that time. These multiple levels of reality in the theme of journey allow “On the Road” to have more depth and intricacy than the average short story.
Sargeant’s physical journey begins with him stepping off a train in front of a parish in the winter. This fact, along with Sargeant’s familiarity with the policies of relief shelters and hobo jungles, lets the reader understand that this is only a very small segment of Sargeant’s journey, which he has been traveling for years while he searches for warmth, food, and shelter in the harsh and bigoted world of the depression. After being denied access to refuge in a white church, Sargeant is overcome by rage at the hypocrisy of the white church and breaks down the door, causing a fight with the police that results in a blow to Sargeant’s head. Sargeant then undergoes what is assumed to be a hallucination and wakes up in a jail cell. Ironically, all the intents of Sargeant’s original physical journey (warmth, food, shelter) are met by his stay in the jail cell.
On another level, Sargeant’s journey with Christ is a metaphor for his decision to give up on relying on others and start relying on himself. Instead of being rescued by Christ, Sargeant actually has to rescue him. When they walk together, Christ seems just as helpless and aimless as Sargeant. This is a metaphorical statement about how the good intentions of religion and religion itself has become chained and trapped by the hypocrisy of the worshippers, and can no longer be relied on in real life. Sargeant’s parallel walk beside Jesus depicts his journey from a man who accepts everything the way it is to someone who wants o change things himself.
The journey is also a metaphor for the whole society. Just the name “Sargeant” is suspiciously close to the word “sergeant,” and that seems to be exactly what Hughes wants him to be: a leader who will rally society to stop waiting for salvation and put a stop to the injustices. The images of Christ and Sargeant are paralleled (Christ holds a cross while Sargeant held a pillar of the church that he threw down the street) giving more strength to the argument that Sargeant is supposed to free and liberate his people, but unlike Jesus Sargeant will not be trapped by the very people he is trying to protect. The journey of Sargeant, then, becomes the same journey that everyone must take in order to stand up for what is right.

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Comments from your instructor:

Interesting and entertaining assessment!

~Lee Hobbs

Posted by: HallieG at February 27, 2008 02:26 PM

The word “journey” in the online dictionary, is defined as “passage or progress from one stage to another.” I feel that this definition best described the word journey. A journey can be made mentally or physically and this definition applies to both. In Langston Hughes’ short story, “On the Road”, one of the themes presented in the story is journey. A theme is defined as “a subject of artistic representation.” In Hughes’ story the reoccurring theme of journey is made physically in mentally.

An example of journey, in “On the Road” is when Sargeant physically travels from the pastor’s house to the church. This is a physical journey from one place to another. This part of the story shows external parallelism to the story of “the good Samaritan” in the New Testament of the Bible. In the story of “the good Samaritan” a man is also on a journey. The man in “the good Samaritan” was on a journey to a far away city when he was beat up by thieves. The man lay on the side of the road after being beaten and a priest comes walking along. The priest sees the beaten man and decides to turn around and take another road. The priest, who is suppose to be god’s worker, does an unchristian-like thing and walks the other way, instead of Christianly helping the hurt man. The pastor in “On the Road” does the same thing when Sargeant knocks on his door. He refused to help Sargeant, even though it was a cold, snowy, night.

Another example of journey takes place throughout the entire story. Sargeant goes on a mental journey. When Sargeant knocks on the door to the pastor’s house, he is turned down. Sargeant is cold, tired, and hungry. He does not protest the pastor’s doing. He is numb to the white man’s oppression. He was not surprised at all. Then Sargeant sees the church. Mentally, he becomes content because a church is suppose to be a welcoming place. Next, the police and townspeople try to pull him away from the church, but Sargeant is hanging onto a pillar. This pillar is a sign of faith (because it is a church pillar), which gives him strength. He builds enough strength to pull off the pillar and destroy the church. The church is white stone which symbolically means the white man. Sargeant tears this pillar down, destroying the white church, and symbolically destroying white oppression.

Sargeant then walks up the street with the stone pillar on his shoulder. Sargeant is now on a journey to find shelter. As he is walking he notices that he is not alone. Beside him walking was Christ who is on a journey to Kansas City. At this point, Sargeant is making a physical journey to shelter, and a mental journey to faith. This faith is expressed when Sargeant, in the beginning of the story, knocks on the pastor’s door, is refused, and then quietly turns away. Now, Sargeant is in jail and he is trying to get out. He thought he was trying to get on the train, and the cops were knocking him off. He finally becomes aware that he is in jail and says “I’m gonna break down this door.” In the beginning of the story, he quietly turned away. At the end of the story, he stood up for himself. His mental journey went from no hope to faith, while he was on this physical journey for shelter.

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Comments from your instructor:

Fine work Ryenn! I concur on several points

~Lee Hobbs

Posted by: Ryenn Micaletti at February 27, 2008 02:27 PM

In the story “On The Road” by Langston Hughes, the reader is shown how the old adage “Life is a Journey”, is true, from both a literal and metaphorical standpoint. Langston’s use of the concept of a “journey”, symbolism, and external parallelism helps the reader to paint a broad picture in their mind of the United States during the times of the depression. It was during this time that racial equality was unheard of, even in the community that preached the idea that all humans are created equal, religion. The main character of the story, a homeless black man named “Sarge” seemed destined to be on the path to change the views of racial superiority.
“On The Road” begins with Sarge exiting a railroad freight car. This is the beginning of his physical journey. There does not seem to be any specific reason why Sarge chooses to exit the train in Reno, Nevada, other than to seek shelter to sleep and possibly find something to eat. The journey then continues through the town while Sarge travels from door to door seeking shelter. It does not appear that the character really had any intention of staying in Reno, as in his dream he once again tries to board a freight car. Hughes makes the physical journey come full circle in that he got off of a freight car in the beginning, and is getting back on to a freight car in the end. The title of the story itself tells the reader that a journey is taking place.
The metaphorical journey taking place in this story however, has nothing to do with travel or a freight train. It is based in religion and society. After Sarge breaks down the church and Jesus is released from his cross, he and Sarge walk together. Sarge asks Jesus “Where you going?” Jesus answers by saying “God knows, but I’m leavin’ here.” This brings many readers to say “what do you mean he didn’t know? He knows everything!” Apparently, Hughes wanted the reader to wonder why Jesus was leaving Reno. Was he leaving because he was fed up of being used as a pawn by people to promote whatever agenda they were toting, in this case, white racial superiority? Was he leaving because he was subtly telling Sarge “hey, this is your issue, you fix it on your own” or was he simply leaving because something more exciting was happening in Kansas City? The journey that Jesus is taking with Sarge is symbolic in nature because they are both just wandering around together…two lost souls perhaps.
Sarge is also undertaking a metaphorical journey down the road of racism. From the time he is turned away by the pastor, while he was being beaten by the white cops, and being held in prison, it is apparent to the reader that he is a victim. Every obstacle Sarge comes across (with the exception of Jesus) is white. When Sarge picks up the white pillar, symbolic of the white church that he had just pulled down, it gives the reader the image that Sarge has just taken racism upon his shoulders. When he casts the pillar aside, it appears as though he wants to cast that worry of hatred from his back. Casting aside the pillar, and the hatred, both would make the journey towards equal rights easier.
Symbolism is often used in literature to tie together a story with its setting in history. “On The Road” is no different. The snowstorm and the fact that is white (a white storm) set against the black of night and against a black man is the first use of symbolism. This use of black vs. white could be seen as being symbolic of the chaos and the struggle within society. Sarge’s mental state appears to be very depressed, and along with the use of the story taking place in winter, can connect the story with the fact that it is being set in the depression. When winter is used in a story, it is often for the purpose of depicting a time of darkness and despair. Throughout “On The Road” Sarge continually mentions breaking down doors. Doors, especially solid one’s, are thought of as barriers. As he breaks down these doors, it appears he may also be breaking down the barriers of racism.
Aside from the everyday stories of how heroes overcome their minority births, a different external parallelism occurred to me as I was reading “On The Road Again.” The part where Hughes talks about footsteps, and them doubling beside Sarge, reminded me of one of my favorite poems “Footprints.” A man is looking back at his life once he dies and often sees only one set of footprints, which occur at the lowest points of his life. He says to the Lord “you told me that once I decided to walk with you, you would always be by my side. Why is it when I needed you most, I only see one set of footprints?” The Lord answers “when you only see one set of footprints, it is then that I carried you.” But in the case of Sarge and Jesus, the opposite is almost true. Sarge is used to walking alone. But when he may need Jesus the most, during his loneliest and darkest times, Jesus is there beside him, walking as his equal, giving Sarge the strength to continue. Thus creating two sets of footprints.

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Comments from your instructor:

Fine work Jodi!

~Lee Hobbs

Posted by: Jodi S. at February 27, 2008 03:30 PM

In Langston Hughes’ “On The Road” I feel that there is a metaphoric journey taken by Sargeant. I think he goes from feeling shut out of society to knowing that he must break the walls that separates him. We first notice this separation when he is described as wondering in the cold looking for a place to stay but there was none. We see his intensity grow when he tries to pry the doors of the church open so that he can find some warmth. I truly feel his journey hasn’t ending because he states that he will break down the walls around him in the jail cell. When this topic was talked about in class I found the interesting point that although one can open a door, it can still be shut. Sargeant doesn’t want to leave room for the door to be re closed. He instead insists on breaking down the walls. The best way to map out this psychological journey is by analyzing each progression in the story. First we see his numbness to his current situation. Hughes portrays this by constantly reminding us that Sargeant doesn't notice the snow. We then see his rebellion against his situation by his forcing his way into the church. We then see him analyze his situation while walking with Jesus. He asks Jesus about his feeling of entrapment. Finally he comes to a conclusion about his situation and he decides to not settle for his separation but force integration.

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Comments from your instructor:

Very nice analysis!

~Lee Hobbs

Posted by: Shantavia Burchette at February 27, 2008 03:55 PM

In Hughes’s On the Road, the idea of journey is definitely a metaphor in this story. The main character, Sargeant, is on a journey simply to find a place to stay, but in reality his journey is a bigger one.
I think Sargeant is on a journey to find a place where he belongs. His journey is finding a place that accepts him no matter the color of his skin. He comes to a town where everything is white, the people, the buildings, and it’s even snowing; so, technically the atmosphere is white.
This man is just looking for a place to stay, but because of the color of his skin, he starts a journey where he pulls down a church, meets and befriends Jesus, and then wakes up in jail. His journey is different than the white people’s journey in the story. They are there to witness his journey.
In the end, Sargeant wakes up in jail, beaten and hurting. “You wait,” mumbled Sargeant, black against the jail wall. “I’m gonna break down this door, too.” His journey helped him realize that walls and jail cells can not hold him. He can stand up to the odds wherever he goes and know that Jesus is with him, and he can overcome anything. He can “break down the door” and be free.

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Comments from your instructor:

Excellent!

~Lee Hobbs

Posted by: Melissa L. at February 27, 2008 04:04 PM

Langston Hughes’ “On the Road” consists of many metaphors and symbols. The symbol that represented the most to me was the snow. It is interesting that Hughes states, “a human piece of night with snow on his face.” Sergeant is compared to night, when all of the “white folk” are in their nice warm homes however the snow also represents the white folk’s coldness. The snow was also representative of white men pushing down on black men to make them extinct. In 1952 there was still a lot of animosity between blacks and whites. White people saw themselves as upon a pedestal to black people. “On the Road” gives the reader a true taste of the tension. As big as Sergeant is described he never became physical with a white man through the whole story. You would think that a big black man, in stereotype, would be aggressive. Realistically the white people in this story were the aggressors, like the snow. The snow becomes a trial that Sergeant must overcome which represents the white people. It is interesting that the repetition that the readers are confronted with feels like snow beating down upon you…”too hungry, too sleepy, too tired.”

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Comments from your instructor:

I agree. Good job!

~Lee Hobbs

Posted by: erin at February 27, 2008 04:07 PM

Heather Stull
Professor Hobbs
EL267.01
2/27/08

In Langston Hughes’ “On the Road”, the protagonist Sargeant gets knocked out and dreams of carrying his burden (the pillar) and tossing it aside. He also finds companionship (with Christ), something he felt alienated from before because of Christ’s association with the church, and in turn, the church being associated with the white people in the story, therefore Christ would only be accessible to the whites. He learns that Christ was not happy spending two thousand years on the cross…a glimpse that the religion and acceptance into the whites’ formalized Christianity was not as coveted a position as he may have once thought. Christ and Sargeant part ways near the end of the story. When asked where he is going, Christ replies “God knows…”, implying that he is not fully in charge of himself, whereas Sargeant is. However, this only serves to get him into trouble.
All of these incidences and several other uses of symbolism reveal, in my opinion, several metaphorical journey’s of Sargeant. Mainly, I think that Sargeant discovers himself and realizes that he has personal worth despite the color of his skin and the treatment he receives from others. Also, I think that he goes on a spiritual journey and begins to wonder about a relationship with God.
His journey of awareness is clearly represented by the snow. At first he is not aware of it at all. He is just walking along, trying to take care of his needs and wanting the basic things that all humans want … food and shelter. After he starts to be rejected he begins to notice not only the snow (symbolizing the oppression from the whites. It is crushing down on him and surrounding him just like their oppression is. It is blinding him and discouraging him just as the whites are doing by blocking his way to the things that he needs) but also he agonizes more and more over feeling tired, cold, and hungry. When Sargeant reaches the church he comments that he “…..felt lost, felt not lost…” hinting that he may have already begun to entertain the notion of a relationship with God (1). Something about the church was almost comforting to him.
Some passages seem to represent the blacks’ struggle for civil rights. For instance, the breaking down of “barriers” or doors: “Suddenly, with an undue cracking and screaking, the door began to give way to the tall black Negro who pushed ferociously against it” (2). And, to the resistance that the whites demonstrated when presented with the idea that blacks should share the same rights as them: “The cops pulled. Sargeant pulled. Most of the people in the street got behind the cops and helped them pull. ‘A big black unemployed Negro holding on to our church!’ thought the people. ‘The idea!’” (2).
As Sargeant is turned away from the Reverends door and denied entry into the church he begins to realize that although he is black he still has the same needs that white people do. He decides to do whatever he can to fight for those rights, an idea that he is still sticking to at the end of the story when he threatens to break down the jail cell door (5). He is introduced to the idea that Christ may not only be for whites, when during his dream Christ appears at his side and begins walking with him (2). He realizes that Christ’s way is determined by God, but that he is free to go where he pleases, a choice that leads him to the hobo jungle. And what does he get for this choice? He ends up waking up in the jail cell, his hands being beaten by the cop. He stands firm in his resolution to fight for his rights but he begins to wonder about where Christ has gone (5). Is he still there at his side? Or has he gone on to Kansas City to walk with someone else? Maybe a white man….

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Comments from your instructor:

Just what I was looking for!

~Lee Hobbs

Posted by: Heather S. at February 27, 2008 04:32 PM

Sargeant, the protagonist in On the Road, describes his journey through life as he tries to find a place to sleep on a cold night. This poor black man was living in a time where the Catholic Church did not support minorities. He spent the entire story being constantly reminded of his skin color, as he fights for his rights as a human being.
Sargeant’s journey can be seen as a fight to overcome racial barriers. The closed doors in this story represent the limitations he faces as a black man. The reverend closes the first door because he sees that the man is black, he refuses to help. The church doors are locked because he is not welcomed into an environment only for the white folk. The train was closed off, and when he tried to enter, he was beaten for it because African Americans were not allowed on the train. All of the characters in the story, even Christians, show that Sargeant is not accepted due to the color of his skin. They treat him inhumanly by leaving him in the cold, beating him, and putting him in prison. His journey to break down these doors symbolizes that he is attempting to put a stop to racism and discrimination.
Even though the church is suppose to reach out to the poor and vulnerable, it isolates those individuals and leaves them out in the cold. Hidden throughout the story is the journey of the church, and how the church’s values have changed. The reverend in the story closes the door in Sergeants face rather than being Christ-like and helping someone in need. The church in the story is known as a white man’s church, and he is therefore not allowed to enter. Sergeant tries to open the closed church doors anyway, and he is soon greeted by policeman. Sergeant wants so badly to be warm, to be accepted, and to witness change that he grabs onto the stone pillars of the church and holds on. He does not let go, even when he is pulled away by the police. He eventually pulls the pillars off the church and the church falls down. When Jesus Christ is actually pulled off his cross, it symbolizes a change in the Catholic Church. More people should be Christ-like by helping others, rather than discriminating.
Sargeant undergoes a major journey in On the Road as he fights for his rights as an African American. His struggles to break down the racial barriers show how he has journeyed through this discriminating time. The church’s journey to break away from the traditional values and focus more on members being Christian-like is evident in the story.

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Comments from your instructor:

I know! Thanks.

~Lee Hobbs

Posted by: Amanda S. at February 27, 2008 04:43 PM

In Langston Hughes’ “On the Road” there is a journey taking place. Of course, traditionally, a journey is thought of as a trip with a purpose. It is the physical act of moving from one place to another. However, there are also journey’s of the mind, spirit and self which may not be seen by anyone but you. You might not even know you are on a “journey” until many years later.
The character, Sargeant, takes a few different journeys in this story. I believe that he took a spiritual journey. In the story, Sargeant walked with Christ. Many times when people say they walk with Jesus, they are referring to their way of life, which is lived to please the Lord. In Sargeant’s case I feel that he walks with Christ as he would walk with a friend. He seems to be unmoved that the Lord is actually walking by his side. Maybe this is a reference to his feelings about God, maybe he believes that he is always there as a friend and companion. Or, maybe Sargeant is unaware of the magnitude of the situation. In the end of the story, though, he wonders what happened to Christ. Maybe he misses him? Maybe he had a spiritual awakening.
Sargeant is also on a journey to end racism, whether he is aware of it or not. In the first instance he is unaware of the whiteness of the snow. In the first sentence it says that he took no notice of the snow. The snow could be a dual reference. One, to actual snow and two, to the white people in the town. He just wanted to find somewhere warm to stay. Additionally, Sargeant sees white steps and white pillars at the church but seems to take no note of them. Is he looking past race and color?
Secondly, when the police come, Hughes states that Sargeant had no intention of being pushed or pulled away and made reference to this happening to Sargeant in earlier times. Maybe the story should be titled “On the Road Again”. Then the “white” pillars come down. Even if this did not change people’s minds, maybe it means that Sargeant’s journey to end racism has broken through the slightest bit. Maybe a member of the town took in what was happing and realized it was wrong. I think that Sargeant’s journey literally and metaphorically broke barriers.

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Comments from your instructor:

Great thoughts here!

~Lee Hobbs

Posted by: Natasha Hill at February 27, 2008 05:29 PM

Chris King.

Journey is defined as traveling from one place to another, usually taking a rather long time; a distance, course, or area traveled or suitable for traveling; a period of travel, passage or progress from one stage to another. Journey can also be described as a non literal course through life or an event that gives different experiences rather than travel.

Sargeant’s journey through out the story can hold a few different meanings depending how you look at it. One way I took his journey was that he physically/literally traveled. Sargeant visited different locations in hope of finding shelter from the snow. He was turned down in his venture and actually ended up in jail; a place of warmth and safety, although surely far from what he had hoped to receive.

Another journey I saw was in the path of Christ. For some reason, Sargeant’s “dream” that he had lead him to be with Christ; whether Christ was real or not. Sargeant walked and talked with Christ about a few different things. He was confiding in Christ about his issues; how he could not find shelter or anyone to help him get warm and be out of the cold snow. Sargeant felt safe enough with Christ to confide his thoughts and emotions about the troubles he was experiencing.

The last journey I found was the correlation between black and white. Sargeant described the “white” snow on his “black” skin. This proved to be a defined line between blacks and whites. He further proved this by the discrimination he experienced. Everyone he sought out to for help turned him down. Finally Sargeant received shelter and a warm place to sleep, but only because his journey lead him to a so-called helpful place which actually wasn’t so helpful. This turned out for the worst in Sargeants case where he actually was placed in jail by white folks for trying to find shelter.

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Comments from your instructor:

Yes! So true on several counts.

~Lee Hobbs

Posted by: Chris King at February 27, 2008 05:37 PM

“A Snowy Journey”

In the short story called “On the Road” by Langston Hughes, the main character was a fellow named Sergeant. Sergeant was a tall black man that didn’t see color or snow. The story starts with Sergeant getting off of a train and walking down the street where he arrives at a Reverend’s house that will not let him in and tells him to go into town to the homeless shelter. Sergeant then turns around and notices a church that is locked, so he tries to open it for some time. Eventually after a couple white people gathered behind him, he finally gets the door open, but as soon as he does, the cops are behind him. Sergeant grabs onto a pillar and won’t let go, even with two policemen and a couple townspeople trying to pry him away from it. The church finally gives way and comes down in a heap. Sergeant then arises and can see the snow, so he starts to walk down the street and eventually notices that Jesus is walking next to him. They converse for a couple of blocks, then part ways at the train tracks, Sergeant to the boxes and tin on the side of the train track to sleep in, and Jesus to Kansas City. Sergeant arises the next day and immediately tries to jump onto a train going by. He grabs a hold of the side of the freight car and tries to pull himself in, but when he tries to pull himself in, he is greeted by a car full of policemen that are beating his hands. Sergeant pleads for the police to let him in the car, but Sergeant isn’t in a freight car, he’s in jail.

Throughout the story, Sergeant, the main character, struggles with the burden of his color. This is a metaphor that is actualized with the appearance of Jesus walking next to him in the snow. Prior to seeing Jesus, he is 'blinded' by his hunger, tiredness, and struggle to survive. It is not until he sees Jesus that he is able to look past his burden, and is able to see the beauty of life.

Sergeant and Jesus are similar in this story because they both share the burdens that society places on them. In the case of Jesus, society ostracizes him due to his beliefs and ideals that he attempts to spread amongst the people. Sergeant is outcast by society due to his color. We see similarities amongst these two because each have the burden of society. This can be seen following Sergeants destruction of the church. He like Jesus carries the cross through the streets as a burden upon himself, much like Sergeant carries the boulders on his shoulders after demolishing the church.

The metaphor within this story is the journey that Sergeant takes to "open his eyes" to the world. Prior to walking with Jesus, Sergeant is 'blinded' by the cold shoulder of society due to his race. It is not until he walks with JC that his eyes are opened and he is able to see the beauty of life. This story represents the journey that Sergeant must take in order to appreciate life. He is burdened throughout the story, but once his eyes are opened his able to see the big picture and appreciate life.

Thomas A.

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Comments from your instructor:

Nicely put!

~Lee Hobbs


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*NOTE* The deadline for this assignment has now passed. Comments are no longer being accepted for this exercise/assignment.

Posted by: Lee at February 28, 2008 09:30 AM

Vivian Lee Croft
Dr. Lee Hobbs
SEL267 American Literature 1915 to Present
30 April 2008

A Relative Experience:
Exploring Gender and Religious Injustices Within the Works of Ernest Hemingway’s
The Sun Also Rises and Langston Hughes’ “On the Road.”
Defined as being unfair in action or treatment, injustice encompasses every facet of a social, political, and economic structure. Injustices are not reserved as a form of treatment toward only the downtrodden and less fortunate; inequities based on gender and religion can be seen in every part of daily life. Injustice is in direct opposition with ethical and moral reasoning yet is still a composite characteristic of many. Inequities noted in Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises may be compared with those seen in Langston Hughes’ “On the Road” to show that no matter the situation or location, individuals can be treated unfairly.
Main characters in Hemingway’s novel live complex lives that run the gamut from intense of emotion to weak of morals. Each character is guilty of treating another with a lack of respect, in one form or another. This is seen with the prejudices surrounding the single female character who travels amongst the many males. The gender bias noted throughout Hemingway’s text will be explored. Another form of mistreatment that will be investigated is that of religious intolerance.



A Jewish character in Hemingway’s text is also the subject of unjust treatment. Though these inequalities may not be especially apparent or extremely influential, they do constitute part of the core belief system of those who hold such bias-based viewpoints.
The two maladies of gender bias and religious bias are also probed in the short story by Langston Hughes. Hughes’ story is littered with inequalities, all focused on a single character. The strong male character, Sargeant, is blatantly mistreated throughout the story. His intense maleness overshadows his weak human nature, which leaves others afraid of his capabilities yet blind to his basic needs. Religion plays a powerful role as well; Christian practitioners fail to live up to their call of duty by leaving Sargeant stranded during his time of need. The inequitable decisions of those who encounter Sargeant throughout the story no doubt lead to and exacerbate his suffering.
The absence of justice lends itself toward oppression, which can be seen through the intentional persecution of an individual through a gender bias. A gender-oppressed individual can succumb to the societal pressures of the distress to play into the assigned role or to create one of her own. Hemingway’s feisty antagonist, Lady Brett Ashley is a female character who, even more by her own actions than those of her male cohorts, remains a second behind every man she conquers. While strong and powerful in demeanor and personality, Brett’s weakness for sexually enhanced relationships leaves her empty and continually searching for another exciting meeting. She intensely pursues and involves herself in aggressive male-pattern behavior, perhaps in order to lift herself above blatant gender bias. Most of the “traditional” women whom Brett encounters


do not stand out from others, do not partake in activities that are unladylike, and do not exhibit traits other than the most upright.
This leaves a divorced Brett in an awkward position. Her male cohorts treat her “one of the guys,” barely noticing her femininity and continuing to act in their normal manner of cavorting with women, treating them as objects. Brett is at once biased and ill-treated, sealing her fate as a woman.
Traditionally, it is a man who seeks a relationship based solely on sex. Brett’s power over men leads her to live in a sexually charged world in which the importance of a relationship with a man is based exclusively on a sexual connection. Her relations seem to last as long as she gets what she wants and until the excitement of the affair wears thin. Her use of this “power” to suit her every whim thus reverses the gender bias, suggesting that men are merely objects used to satisfy her own cravings. Though men willingly participate in her exploits, the fact that Brett is able to initiate, lead, and ultimately leave the relationships show that although she is a woman, her untraditional female brand of aggressiveness brings about a gender bias that is unexpected.
Brett’s gender bending role is new to many of the other characters. Her strength and determination allow her to live her life to the fullest. She refuses to let a man take advantage of her and in fact is usually the one to get whatever she wants. Brett is a dichotomic character who wants to have the upper hand while simultaneously receiving the sensitive reassurance desired by all women. The complicated nature of this example of gender bias exemplifies the skill with which Hemingway layers his characters, providing them with a multitude of personality traits.



Hughes’ hero, Sargeant, also experiences biased treatment based on his appearance. The large man faces oppression with every turn throughout this short story. Many in this small town had probably never encountered a stranger, much less, a stranger of his size, whom they witnessed walking aimlessly in the dark of a snowy night. His tall frame and muscular stature likely caused many of those he came up against to question his motives. Even as a mentally weak, physically tired, and hungry man, Sargeant must have still loomed over the townspeople with his wide shoulders, big hands, and intimidating body.
The first contact in his search for a place to spend the night turns Sargeant away at the door with barely a word of assistance. His considerable body remaining on the porch, he was uncertain of how he could find solace. Surely a woman in the same situation would be let into the stranger’s home and given a seat in front of the warm fire. Certainly a young lady in such a predicament, lost, cold, and hungry, on a winter’s night would find shelter inside the home of a kind helper.
Sargeant’s attempt at refuge inside a church was met with the hostility of gathering onlookers who could not understand the need of this man, struggling violently with all of his might to break down the locked doors. The church doors, sealed at their seams prove symbolic to his inability to break through the biases imposed upon him. Without being let in, Sargeant would remain an outcast, damned in his role of a man of a lesser standing. This needy man was met with harsh disapproval and instant condemnation based likely more on his intense size, demeanor, and intimidating presence, than other factors, including even his dark skin color. This gender bias causes a majority of those who come in contact with Sargeant to treat him as a


common criminal. Hughes’ superb ability to convey an emotional connectedness leaves readers sympathizing with a character in situations that they might otherwise condemn.
The religious notions seen in The Sun Also Rises brings to light the inability to escape this form of prejudice. Hemingway makes it clear right away that one of the main male characters in this novel is a Jewish male. The conveyance of such a cultural inheritance does not seem like one that is needed to complete the story yet it shows the sense of urgency in relaying such a fact. Ideally, Robert Cohn should not be treated any differently than his European-American friends although anti-Semitism is a common ideology, even of some of his cohorts. Mistreatment of Robert based on his Jewishness can be seen throughout the novel.
Comments demeaning Robert’s Jewishness in this text include sarcasm directed at his physical appearance, demeanor, and actions. Jake, along with other characters, continually comment on Robert’s appearance with gibes about his nose. He is routinely treated as an outsider and always looked down upon although there is regular mention of Robert’s superior nature and stubborn actions. As friends Bill and Jake discuss the impending visit of their friends, whom Robert believes are his friends as well, Robert interjects some kept information regarding their arrival. Much to their upset, Bill and Jake agree “...let him not get superior and Jewish” (Hemingway 96). All of these forms of ill-will discourage Robert, leaving him sad and lonely. Just when he thinks he has found a friend or lover, he is again reminded of his lessened status as a Jew. Even stereotypical Jewish identifiers including money, entitlement, and position are used as fodder in the fight against Robert Cohn. Though sharp insults and trite jabs may not

constitute as the typical radical view of anti-Semitism, these small notions certainly build upon a base of intolerance and injustice.
Rather than leave Sargeant despondent and questioning of religion, Hughes’ examples of religious intolerance encouraged Sargeant. His initial experience with a Reverend who turns him away from the warmth and safety of his parsonage leads him next to a church where he “finds” Jesus. His struggle to enter the locked doors of the church in search of comfort signify that it is not only inside a holy place that comfort dwells. In an attempt to gain entry, he pulls down the strong, stone pillars that hold the building upright. As the building tumbles down Sargeant looks up, his faith growing. The falling crucifix was not enough to deter Sargeant from his belief that Jesus would remain by his side. “He looked around, and there was Christ walking along beside him, the same Christ that had been on the cross on the church -- still stone with a rough stone surface, walking along beside him just like he was broken off the cross when the church fell down” (Hughes 208).
All Sargeant had to cling to at that moment was the stone pillar, just as most others in a despondent state have only their faith to hold. His adamant need to keep the pillar in his hand reflects the desire of a person desperate to keep a religion within his or her reach. He kept his faith in religion while those religious beings around him rejected him in his time of need and turned him away from the most sacred of holy places. This shows that even the Christian
religion itself faces an injustice as its members deny Sargeant, refusing to help him as he stood cold, hungry, and tired in the middle of a snow-covered, nighttime street.


Sargeant exhibited no forms of intolerance and instead, provided a great example of how a religious intolerance is often formulated from another type of intolerant view. While his actions could be constituted as extreme, the fact that he was unable to receive help was the most extreme example of intolerance discussed. His resolve did not falter, which will certainly lead him toward success.
Notions of injustice are found in virtually every aspect of societal relations, religious and secular, among friends and strangers, and involving both men and women. Everyone is susceptible to being unjust as everyone is prone to being discriminated against. There is no safety net when it comes to injustice; characters are best suited to react in a manner that can improve the situation by their own means. Unjust treatments are necessary in order for a world to prosper, as the resulting change will likely prove the catalyst. Without an injustice against which to fight, what plights would be eradicated and what hardships would be lessened? Answers may only be found once an injustice has been enacted.


Works Cited

Hemingway, Ernest. The Sun Also Rises. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1926.
Hughes, Langston. “On The Road.” Something in Common and Other Stories. New York: Hill, 1963. 207-12.

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The final draft of my term paper has been submitted under Langston Hughes as he authored "On The Road," one of the texts I discussed in my term paper.

Posted by: Vivian Lee C. at May 1, 2008 08:05 AM

Thomas J. Adams Jr.
Dr. Lee Hobbs
Literature 267.01
25 April 2008
Representation of Journey in “On the Road” and “Johnny Got His Gun”

A journey in a story is a process that someone must go through, easy or difficult, to get to a common objective or goal. My objective is to relate the short story, “On the Road” by Langston Hughes, and the novel, “Johnny Got His Gun” by Dalton Trumbo, in the hopes of correlating the two by their similarities and parallelism of the representation of journey throughout the two stories. In both of these stories, they display a lot of hidden meanings, metaphors, biblical personification, and an incredible amount of imagery as to guide the reader in the direction that the author would like one to believe is happening. Both of these stories are very similar in a sense that “On the Road,” involves a man that is on a journey through town in hopes of finding shelter and food, and during his journey meets Jesus. This is similar to the novel “Johnny Got His Gun,” where a man goes to war and experiences many hardships in hopes of informing other Americans of the dangers of war. Along his “mind journey,” he meets Jesus and asks him what he should do because of his unfortunate mishap in war where he looses all senses, touch, sight, smell, hearing and taste.

In the short story called “On the Road” by Langston Hughes, the main character is a man named Sergeant. Sergeant was a tall black man that did not see color or the snow that was falling in front of his face. The story begins with Sergeant getting off of a train and walking down the street looking for food and shelter. After walking for some time, Sergeant arrives at house, which is that of the town’s Reverend, and decides to knock on the door. He asks the Reverend if he may take shelter there for the night and eat some food. To Sergeant’s surprise, he is quickly turned away by the Reverend and is told that he will not allow him in and tells him to go into town, to the homeless shelter. Before Sergeant can say anything, the Reverend shuts the door on him.

Sergeant then turns around and notices a church behind him. He walks up to the church and finds that the door is locked but still continues to attempt to open it. While Sergeant attempts to open the church door, a couple of the town’s people gathered behind him. Eventually Sergeant is able to open the door, however after he does cops appear behind him. The cops immediately try to apprehend Sergeant, but he grabs onto a pillar in the front of the church and refuses to let go. Even though there are two policemen and a few townspeople behind attempting to pry him away from the pillar, he will not let go. After a lot of tugging, the church finally gives way and comes down in a heap. Sergeant then arises with a stone pillar on his back and can now see the snow.

After Sergeant is able to see the snow he begins to walk down the street and eventually notices that Jesus is walking next to him. They converse for a couple of blocks, where Jesus says that he has been on top of the church for nearly two thousand years. Jesus expressed to Sergeant that was very thankful that he had pulled the church down. After talking, Jesus and Sergeant part ways at the train tracks. Sergeant resides to the boxes and tin on the side of the train track to sleep in and Jesus sets off on a journey of his own to Kansas City. Sergeant arises the next day and immediately tries to jump onto a train going by. He grabs a hold of the side of the freight car and tries to pull himself in, but when he tries to pull himself in, he is greeted by a car full of policemen that are beating his hands. Sergeant pleads for the police to let him in the car, but then he realizes he is not in a freight car, he is in jail.
Throughout the story, Sergeant struggles with the burden of his color. This is a metaphor that is actualized with the appearance of Jesus walking next to him in the snow. Prior to seeing Jesus, he is 'blinded' by his hunger, tiredness, and struggle to survive. It is not until he sees Jesus that he is able to look past his burden, and is able to see the beauty of life.

Sergeant and Jesus are similar in this story because they both share the burdens that society places on them. In the case of Jesus, society ostracizes him due to his beliefs and ideals that he attempts to spread amongst the people. Sergeant is outcast by society due to his color. We see similarities amongst these two because each has the burden of society. This can be seen following Sergeants destruction of the church. He like Jesus carries the cross through the streets as a burden upon himself, much like Sergeant carries the boulders on his shoulders after demolishing the church.

The next story that has a similar representation of journey is “Johnny Got His Gun,” by Dalton Trumbo. The story begins with the protagonist, Joe Bunham, working at a bakery one night when he hears a strange ringing at the bakery. It was his mother calling to say that his father had passed away and that he should come home. Joe obliges, and one of Joe’s co-workers drives him home to Los Angeles. When he arrives home he is greeted by his mother, weeping sister, and discovers his fifty-one year old, tired father dead.

After his fathers’ passing, Joe remembers what his mother used to make for dinner, and has a strange ringing in his head, similar to that of a telephone. Joe suddenly realizes that he is not dreaming about these memories, but rather he is thinking about them; he cannot see. The story skips around; fading from his thoughts to reality, but essentially the next important detail that happens is that Joe left his girlfriend Kareen, who had given him a good luck ring before we went out to war to fight for his country. During the war, an awful thing happened, that he has not realized has occurred yet. A bomb had gone off, by Joe, when he was fighting and it blew his face off, which is where his journey begins. Joe cannot see, smell, hear, feel, touch, or taste.

During the first couple chapters, Joe struggles to realize what is going on, whether or not he is dreaming. Joe unhappily realizes that he cannot see, or hear, or smell, but is able to cope. When he realizes that his arms have been amputated, he begins to become unglued. He quickly remembers that the ring Kareen had given to him when he went to war is no longer there because his arms had been amputated. Joe then struggles with why he went to war in the first place, considering that it had nothing to do with him.

He thinks about anything to get his mind off of the horrible things that have happened to his body and begins to think of ways that he can try and tell time with his body. He can feel a slight difference between his body and the feeling he is getting on his neck, and it is that he has exposed skin that is not covered up by bandages, so Joe decides that he will be able to decipher whether it is daytime or nighttime by how warm his neck gets. Joe quickly conquers the task of deciphering day and night, so he decides that he is going to try and count days, to try and find out what and when it is, and how long he has been here, living in his own thoughts. Joe develops a plan to wait for the feeling of sunrise so that he can tally the nurses' visits and count the passing of the days. A year later, Joe has accomplished his goal and counted up the last 365 days. In Joe's fourth year, he is amazed to feel that the hospital staff has prepared him to be shown to visitors. One day in particular, Joe feels the visitors lay something on his chest, he realizes he is being given a medal. Joe becomes angry and thrashes in his bed, trying to remove his mask to show the visitors how much damage men like him sustain in the war while generals emerged unscathed. Joe then realizes that he can feel the vibrations of the men leaving the room. An idea comes upon him that if he can sense the outside world through vibrations, perhaps he might also communicate to the outside world through vibrations. Joe has an idea that he is going to start tapping SOS messages in Morse code with his head. However, his nurse thinks that he is having seizures and decides to sedate him instead of investigating the problem.

Once Joe woke up from his sedation he realizes that he has received a new nurse. He wakes up to her spelling Merry Christmas on his chest. Joe signals with his body to the nurse that he understands what she had just done, and starts to try and use Morse code to try and communicate with her back. The nurse does not initially realize what he is doing, but eventually she does. Once she realizes that Joe is attempting to communicate she gets someone who knows and understands Morse code. A man comes in to assist Joe and taps “What do you want?” on his forehead. Joe thinks for sometime and he decides to ask the man to make an exhibit of Joe, informing people of the true dangers and realities of war. The man retorts back to Joe saying that “What you ask is against regulations.” The man asks Joe another question, but Joe is no longer paying any attention to the man, and instead starts tapping “why, why, why?”

The nurse thinks that he is getting too worked up and decides to sedate him. Joe suddenly realizes that they are afraid to let him out, because then people will then realize the true horrors of war, and the other men would see him as the "new messiah of the battlefields."

Although both of these stories are very different in context, they are alike in that the journey that both have to go through, and also the hardships the two men have to suffer through shows parallelisms. One obviously being more severe then the other, but both are not pleasant, nor fun by any means. They both also entail biblical personification because initially Sergeant is blinded by his hunger, tiredness, and struggle to survive, that it is not until he sees Jesus that he can now see color and the true beauties of life. In the movie, “Johnny Got His Gun,” there is a part in it when he goes to ask Jesus about what he is to do about his predicament, but once Jesus hears about his misfortune, he cannot give Joe any type of advice that would help him out in this time of need. Another similarity between these two stories is that they are both placed with a burden of society. Sergeant’s burden being race and color, and for Joe, it is that he went to war to fight for his country and gives up his life and body because of it. When he asks if he can inform people of the horrors of war, society shuts him down.

The metaphor within the two stories is that the journey that Sergeant and Joe take "open their eyes" to the world and society. Prior to walking with Jesus, Sergeant is 'blinded' by the cold shoulder of society due to his race. It is not until he walks with Jesus Christ that his eyes are opened and he is able to see the beauty of life. On the other hand, Joe experiences his journey a little differently then Sergeant in that his “eyes aren’t opened” until late in the story when he finally finds a way to communicate with the outside world to try and inform people about war, and finds that his whole mind journey of trying to communicate with someone for the last four years of his life, has been shattered by an ignorant man who says that his request is “against regulations.” These stories represent the journey that must be taken in order to truly appreciate life. Both are burdened throughout the story, but once there eyes are opened, both are able to see the big picture and appreciate life for what it is, good or bad.


Works Cited
Hughes, Langston. On The Road. 1952.
Trumbo, Dalton. Johnny Got His Gun. New Jersey: Lyne Stuart, Inc. Bantam Books, 1939.

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The reason that I chose Langston Hughes, "On The Road" is because it had the best representation of journey throughout the story, and it made it easy to write my final draft of my research paper.

Posted by: Thomas A. at May 1, 2008 01:54 PM

Amanda Swartz
Professor Hobbs
El267.01 American Literature: 1915-Present
23, April, 2008
Outcasts Attempt to Break Through Barriers in Trumbo and Hughes
Joe Bonham, a blind, deaf man with neither a face nor limbs attempts to communicate with the outside world in hopes of teaching others about the outcome of war in Johnny’s Got His Gun. Sargeant, an African American homeless man tries to find a place to sleep for the evening, while attempting to knock down the racial barriers he is faced with in On the Road. Two men, with hardly any obvious similarities, both share their journeys as they overcome challenging obstacles as outcasts of society. Joe and Sargeant embark on their journeys to beat the odds and to be that change in the world. They are rejected, silenced, and stopped, but they remain strong willed as they attempt to break through barriers.
Both these men are treated poorly by society, and are hardly heroic, but yet their stories follow the guidelines follow Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth fairly well. Although it is nearly impossible for Joe to communicate, he does not give in because he wants so badly to stop other people from entering the war. Sargeant wants justice and equality, and is willing to fight for his beliefs. Joe and Sargeant undergo significant changes in characters. Though their worlds are different, they begin in their own original world, enter into their own special world, and re-enter back into their own special world. Joe and Sargeant experience three stages during their journey which include the departure, initiation, and the return, and it is during these stages of their journey, they are rejected, silenced, and stopped.
Sargeant begins by following all of the rules and behaves humanely; however he faces rejection many times throughout the short story. He politely knocks at the Reverends door, asking for help, however is shunned immediately when the door is shut in his face (Hughes 1). Expecting the rejection, he moves on until he sees two church doors. When the doors are locked, he attempts to pull them open, however fails (Hughes, 1). Here is rejected by the church because he is black, and it is a white folk’s church (Hughes 2).
After countless rejections, Sargeant’s character is a changed man. He is utterly angry, so he is willing to put his life on the line to take a stand against racial inequality. Sargeant’s breaking point occurs when the police pull at him, demanding him to let go of the doors. The police are trying to stop Sargeant from entering the church, and trying to stop him from breaking down barriers. Sargeant’s departure occurs when he is called to his adventure. This call occurred the moment he decided to latch onto the church doors, even when he was being tugged away by authority. He could have let go and gave in, thus refusing the call, but instead he remained latched on to the doors. This shows his character; he is strong willed and willing to fight for what he believes is rightfully his. The police beat him until he blacks out, which is when the threshold of adventure is crossed from the ordinary world to the special world. They succeeded in silencing him.
Sargeant ordinary world is his reality: a poor homeless African American man, while his ordinary world is a dream-like runaway state of mind. Since Sargeant agreed to embark on his journey, he faced a road of trials. On his adventure, Sargeant meets Jesus, who becomes a companion for him to talk to about his problems. He is not the almighty Jesus as Christians believe; he has no advice or knowledge to instill in Sargeant. In attempts to get away to a new place, Sargeant jumps onto a train, but is beat again until he wakes up (Hughes, 4). He re-enters his ordinary world. He has returned. He is prison being beat by the guards (Hughes, 4). He has been stopped. He did not break down the racial barriers as he had intended. Although it appears as though he is defeated, he does not give up. “I’m going to break down this door,” yelled Sargeant (Hughes, 5). This statement proves that he will not give up. He knows the battle is not over for him. Sargeant will embark on a new journey, since this one did not end the way he wished.
Joe wakes up in the dark, unable to open his eyes because they are no longer a part of his face. After a few moments he realizes that he has no face. He later learns that he has no arms and legs, and solely consists of a midsection, neck, and back of the head. All he has left are his memories in which he flashes back to regularly. Joe feels helpless and useless. He feels dead even though he is alive. His mind races and memories haunt him. Joe’s original world is a world in which he is able to communicate with others and be a member of society. His special world is a world of silence. During this world of silence he can only hear himself and his memories replay in his mind. Joe’s call to adventure occurred after he realized that he lost his senses and a large part of his body during the war. He could give up, and lie their alone trapped in his mind, or find a way to feel like a member of society again. Although he is silenced, he does not give up.
His threshold to adventure is crossed when Joe is successful in learning how to develop a concept of time after endless months of counting nurse’s visits, baths, and changings. When he felt the warmth of the sun on his skin, he knew it was morning, and he recaptured time (Trumbo, 137). He becomes ecstatic and proud of his successes, and begins to embark on a new adventure. He does not refuse the call, but rather Joe practices Morse code every time a person enters the room, hoping he/she will understand. During his nurse visits, he is rejected. The nursing staff wants nothing to do with him, so they ignore his tapping. At one point even sedates him because she thinks he is having seizures (Trumbo, 166). This is another example of how he is not only rejected, but silenced. A doctor entered the room, studied his body, probed him, and cleaned out the tube in his throat (Trumbo, 184). Joe focused on tapping, and tapped even harder when the doctor stood in silence studying Joe. Joe knew the man had come to see what all the tapping was about, and he knew this was his chance to communicate. He wanted so badly to be heard, so he used all of his energy he had into tapping, until the doctor placed a needle into the stump of Joe’s arm (Trumbo, 184). “They were trying to shut him up” (Trumbo, 184). “They were forcing him to be silent” (Trumbo, 185). “They didn’t want to hear him (Trumbo, 185). Joe, although very much alive, was treated as though he had no brain in his head and he was just part of a body, lying still and silent. One day, a new day nurse enters Joe’s room. He knows she is new because she walks quieter and softer than the other nurse. His new nurse becomes his ally, as she does everything possible to understand what he is trying to communicate. She slipped items up against his body, allowing him to feel them on his skin so he could recognize them (Trumbo, 210). She put blankets on him because she thought maybe he was cold and wanted to be warm, then would take them off when he shook his head. He shook his head after every guess she made (Trumbo, 210). She realized that his tapping was rhythmic and that he was trying to communicate in Morse code, so she left the room immediately (Trumbo, 213). She brought in a man who understands Morse code to communicate with Joe. Joe’s faces a meeting with the atonement with the father, the man who holds the power. The man asks Joe what he wants, and Joe takes a long time to think about what it is that he actually wants (Trumbo, 218). He wants so many things that the man cannot give him. However, when Joe explains that he wants to be an exhibit to teach others about the outcome of war, the man explains that it would be against regulations (Trumbo, 235) Joe is defeated, and he is sedated again. He is left there hopeless to die. Joe lost his only chance to be heard. He is not only rejected and silenced again, but he is stopped from what he dreamed of doing.
Both of these protagonists’ stories end similarly. They are defeated by authority and hushed. Joe is sedated again so that he cannot speak, while Sargeant is beaten and imprisoned. They both want to make the world a better place and are willing to take a stand. The world wants nothing to do with them, and both are rejected in different ways. Sargeant is rejected by white men, while Joe is rejected by the hospital staff. While Sargeant is silenced by white policemen, Joe is silenced nurses, doctors, and armed forces.
They are both stopped from achieving their goal, but the characters are strong, even in their devastating circumstances. When most would give up, they push on. Joe becomes delusional from all of the hours of head banging, yet he continues because it is his only chance to be heard. “He knew it might be months, it might be years, it might be all the rest of his life,” before someone realizes he is trying to communicate through tapping, but he kept on tapping (Trumbo, 180). “The cops began to beat Sargeant over the head, and nobody protested. But he held on” (Hughes, 2). Sargeant holds onto the church doors, all the while holding on to what he believes in. He is fighting for his rights and the rights of all African Americans. He wants to break down the doors, which represent the racial barriers put up by whites in order to keep blacks out. Both of these men never allow themselves to let go of what they believes in, even when they are in the most trying situations.
Both of these stories do not end with an ultimate boon. The protagonists never achieve what they wished to achieve when embarking on the journey. Racism and ignorance of the outcome of war are still issues at the end of the story. Even though Joe mastered the art of communication in extreme circumstances by learning Morse code, he was not able to educate others as he hoped to do. Although Sargeant says “I’m going to break down this door,” the black man is still imprisoned by white authority (Hughes 5). Joe and Sargeant were rejected, silenced, and stopped by authority; however they remained strong through trying times.


--------------- I submitted this analysis to this blog because On the Road by Langston Hughes was one text I used in my research paper. I analyzed the protagonist of On the Road (Sargeant) and compared his character with another protagonist from a different novel. I described Sargeants journey to overcome racism by following the guidelines of a hero's journey, or the monomyth, by Joseph Campbell.

Posted by: Amanda Swartz at May 1, 2008 02:49 PM

Journey in Langston Hughes’ “On The Road” and August Wilson’s “Fences”.
Webster’s defines “journey” as “a trip from one place to another – v.i. travel.” Factmonster.com defines journey as “1. Traveling from one place to another, usually taking a rather long time; trip. 2. A distance, course, or area traveled or suitable for traveling. 3. A period of travel. 4. Passage or progress from one stage to another.” I will be dealing with the latter. Great literature takes you on a journey. A journey can either move through the story or through the character’s mind. This can be seen in art, novels, poetry, and short stories. The journey does not have to be an obvious one but it will leave the reader with a sense of time and placement on both a physical and mental point of view. I will be using Langston Hughes’ “On The Road” and August Wilson’s “Fences” to show the main characters Sargeant and Troy go on mental and physical journeys in their respective stories.
In Langston Hughes’ “On the Road”, Sargeant, the main character, goes on a mental journey that seems a physical journey to the reader. Sargeant begins his journey by traveling in the snow at night in search of warmth. His effort however would prove futile. As Sargeant continues to look for shelter, he finds a minister’s home and knocks at the door but he is once again turned away. Sargeant continues his journey and finds a church that seems to glow in the night. He seeks refuge but is once again denied. His temper flairs so he tries to take matters into his own hands and through a series of events he manages to pull down the church.
As the story progresses, the main character proceeds to seek shelter as he walks with the stone Jesus that fell from the church. Somehow Jesus has become a real person to Sargeant and they continue until they part ways and Sargeant is caught trying to jump a rail car and is knocked out by a cop. Sargeant awakens in a jail cell and thinks of nothing but freedom. The reader then comes to the realization that Sargeant’s journey was mostly mental. Sargeant was knocked unconscious by a cop earlier in the story and was locked up all night. Subsequently, the entire journey following the incident of the church was all a figment of his imagination.
In August Wilson’s play, “Fences”, the main character, Troy, is a garbage worker with his best friend Bono. We see how his life is conflicted by some many underlying factors I the 1950s to 60s. "Fences” focuses on Troy as he is in the process of building the fence that Rose’ his wife asks him to build around their yard. The story opens with Troy and Bono speaking about their jobs and a young lady that the guys have been looking at. We later find out that troy has been having an affair with this woman, who’s name is Alberta. WE continue to see troy’s strained relationships with his son Corey, because Cory wants to go to college to play football. This idea is one that troy does not agree with because he feels it is a waste of time. As the story progresses the tension between the family grows until finally troy dies.
In Hughes’ short story, the journey that Sargeant goes on is a mental one. Sargeant’s mindset changes as the story progresses. He goes from seeking shelter to wanting to break down the wall doors. “‘You wait’, mumbled Sargeant, black against the jail wall. ‘I’m gonna break down this door, too’” (L. Hughes’ “On the Road”, p. 5). By this time in the story, Sargeant is no longer thinking of a physical door but he is thinking of the doors that bind societies minds, I feel that the significance of him first wanting to fulfill a physical need such as warmth, hunger, and shelter shows the beginning if his mental journey. He was not concerned with society or the things around him. All that mattered was that he was cold…

“He was not interested in snow, when he got off the freight, one early evening during the depression; Sargeant never even noticed the snow. But he must have felt it seeping down his neck, cold, wet, sopping in his shoes. But if you had asked him, he wouldn’t have known it was snowing. Sargeant didn’t see the snow, not even under the bright lights of the main street, falling white and flaky against the night. He was too hungry, too tired.” (L.Hughes’ “On the Road”, p.1)
Sargeant goes from these primal instincts of survival to rationalism of his actions. When he finds the church he knows it should be an abbey, a safe haven for those in need and instead he is shut out. This causes him to think it is time to take matters into his own hands and try to break into the church. His evolution from primal to rational can be seen when Sargeant sees the church and finally sees the snow. “For the first time that night he saw snow” (L. Hughes, p.1). From his rationalization he vows to a revolutionary mindset where he feels that it is time to get what he wants. “He pushed. With loud, rhythmic grunts” (L. Hughes, p.1). He began to break into the church. As he progressively became more determined, he was confronted by two cops who tried to pull him from the church but he still held on. He pulled down the church. This revolutionary mindset is the one that Sargeant maintains through the rest of the story. He does mellow out towards the end but his mental journey from primal and instinctive to revolutionary and fed up was completed.
In Wilson’s story, Troy goes on a more physical journey. He ages, he gets promoted, builds a fence, changes relationships and finally dies. His journey is one that spans his entire life. His mental does not change much throughout this story but he changes seamlessly physically. Throughout the play there are numerous references to baseball and how great Troy was. Bono, Troy’s friend, tells how Troy was even better than Jackie Robinson. (Act 1, Scene 1). We later find out that by the time Major League Baseball allowed blacks to play, Troy was too old. We also see changes in his status. Troy complains to Mr. Rand, his boss, about the inequality at his job. Troy later receives a job as the first black garbage truck driver. Another element that shows that Troy’s journey is one that takes place physically is the ever growing fence that Rose, his wife, asks him to build. In the beginning it is just starting and is finally completed just before the end. the final physical changes can be found in the changes in Troy’s relationships. He strains his relationship with Rose and Corey, and loses Alberta. In the end Troy never changes his mind on anything but ages and dies.
In conclusion I have found that literature takes the reader’s mind on a journey. We as readers follow the characters in their time and mental conditions and feel a sense of completion with them at the end. All stories whether they are short stories, poetry, novels, or plays, all have a sense of a journey. The journey can be one that changes setting, one that changes a state of mind or one that completely changes everything. We as readers long for a sense of connection to a piece of literature as we read it and that sense of connection comes from how well the author tells the story. Is the story one that can be related to, is it one that makes us think? As long as literature is around for enjoyment these qualities must be met. Both Hughes’ and Wilson’s characters go on journeys through the story and it is these journeys that allow for the readers to connect with these characters. Although Sargeant’s journey was mental and Troy’s was physical, they were both journeys nevertheless and being such allows for the sense of beginning and end that all journeys require.


Work Citied
Langston Hughes: “On The Road Again”
August Wilson: “Fences”. Penguin Group. Penguin Books USA inc.,375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A. 1986

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I chose this blog because my final paper is based on the work, "On the Road", it's main character Sargeant, and its comparisons to another novel by Langston Hughes, Fences.

Posted by: Shantavia Burchette at May 2, 2008 10:08 AM

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*NOTE* The deadline for this particular assignment has now passed. Any comments listed below are *ONLY* for the reposting of comments that I specifically asked to be revised or are ones from non-student posters. Any 'student' posts below that missed the assignment deadline will not get credit for the assignment. ~ Dr. Hobbs

Posted by: Dr. Hobbs at May 6, 2008 10:53 AM

Briyana Aiken
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 122 CA08 On The Road
7 February 2013
Discuss any Symbolism you discover regarding “color” in Langston Hughes’s “On the Road”
To me, the white men, and the sergeant symbolize power and authority. ""Uh-huh," answered the big tall Negro, "I know it's a white folks' church, but I got to sleep
somewhere." He gave another lunge at the door" (Hughes,2)
In this period I feel like the colored man symbolizes a child being told what to do.

Posted by: Briyana Aiken at February 8, 2013 12:02 AM

Peter Mercadante
Dr.Hobbs
Eng. 122 CAO5 Academic Writting II
8 February 2013


Question: Are there any similarities between this story and Ambrose Bierce’s “An Occurrence on Owl
Creek Bridge”?

Answer: Yes there is one major similarity in Amobrose Bierce's story and Langston Hughes story, which is the ending. They both use this type of flash back setting to where the reader comes back into reality and out the the speakers imagination. In Owl Creek Bridge, the reader come back from the protagonists last thoughts of life and freedom before it flashes back to him being hung in reality. In On the Road, the protagonists has a similar experience of freedom before his realization of being locked up in jail.

Posted by: Peter Mercadante at February 8, 2013 08:24 AM

Chris Lavie
Dr Hobbs
ENG 122 CA08
2/8/2013

QUESTION 11: Are there any similarities between this story and Ambrose Bierce’s “An Occurrence on Owl Creek Bridge”?
ANSWER: The protagonist in “on the road” is quite similar to the protagonist of “an occurrence on Owl Creek Bridge”. Sargeant is pursued by several men like Farquhar in Ambrose Bierce’s short story. The two protagonists are thinking or dreaming during the whole story. The reader just knows at the end that everything took place during the story is false, page 4: “Suddenly Sargeant realized that he really was in jail. He wasn’t on no train. The blood of the night before had dried on his face, his head hurt terribly, and a cop outside in the corridor was hitting him across the knuckles for holding onto the door, yelling and shaking the cell door.

Posted by: Chris Lavie at February 8, 2013 10:59 AM

Jordan Miller
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 CA08
08 Feb 2013

Question 07: Allusions: Recall the popular children’s story of “Samson and Delilah” as revealed in the Old Testament. How is that tale similar to the scene when Sargeant collapses the building by pulling on the pillars? How are the two stories different or reversed?
Answer: In the tale of Samson and Delilah, Samson has unbound strength, and is capable of things that most people are not capable of. Delilah is a woman who uses her wits and cunning to deceive Samson and learn the secret to his strength, which once she learns she takes it away from him. In “On the Road”, Sargeant grabs on to a pillar of the church and holds on for his life until it collapses and falls down taking the church with it (Hughes, 2). As he is holding on some cops and citizens as well grab on to him, and continue to pull and pull. The Church is like Samson staying strong, and then eventually as it is tested and tested, it waivers, and falls down.

Posted by: Jordan Miller at February 8, 2013 11:08 AM

Colby Johnson
Dr. Hobbbs
Eng 311 CA05 Academic Writing 2
8 February 2013

Question: Discuss any Symbolism you discover regarding “color” in Langston Hughes’s “On the Road”

Answer: Color plays a major symbolic role in Langston Hughes "On the Road." For example, Langston frequently uses snow as a symbol for several different meanings. I argue that since snow is white, it is supposed to represent white people. As shown in the first paragraph of page one , "Sargeant never even noticed the snow. But he must have felt it seeping down his
neck, cold, wet, sopping in his shoes." I believe since snow is white, the author was trying to portray the snow filled boots as a way of showing "the white man slowing the black man down."

Posted by: Colby Johnson at February 8, 2013 04:09 PM

Ana DeMaio
Dr. Hobbs
Academic Writing 2 CA04 in Crawford Hall, Room #6
8 February, 2013

Questions: Parallelism: How are the actions of Sargent similar to the actions of Christ? How are they different?
Answer: In the short story “On the Road,” Sargent the main character displays similar actions to Christ. Just like Christ had to carry his cross literally and metaphorically, Sargent carried a pillar. When Christ carried the cross it represented the sins of all people. Sargent carrying the pillar represented the burdens he had to face being an unemployed black man during the depression. “He grabbed for one of the tall stone pillars beside the door, grabbed at and caught it”(Hughes p,2) Ways in which they were different were that when Sargent had more anger in him. He was willing to do anything to ensure his survival which included hurting others. Jesus was more accepting of his fate and didn`t fight it.

Posted by: Ana DeMaio at February 8, 2013 04:35 PM

Jose Garcia
Dr. Hobbs
English 122 CA04 Academic Writing II
8th, February 2013

Question:
5. Discuss any SYMBOLISM you discover regarding “imprisonment” in Langston Hughes’s “On the Road.” What are the literal functions of prisons? Is sergeant a prisoner before he goes to jail? What about Jesus?
Answer:
5. To be imprisoned is to be bounded from mental or physical progression, usually due to ones surrounding environment. In Langston Hughes’, “On the Road,” the protagonist Sargeant is a cold, poverty stricken, homeless man during the depression era. The time period is crucial to the background of Sargeant’s character; because, it gives the reader an idea of why he is in the circumstances he is in, and why he cannot progress through them. Him being homeless is a form of imprisonment in itself; because, it causes him to alter his state of thinking from being a normal person focused on life and living, to being focused on purely surviving. His place in life is his imprisonment, and this is evident through the description and details of his health. On page one of Hughes’, “On the Road,” Sargeant’s health is described, “Sargeant never even noticed the snow. But he must have felt it seeping down his neck, cold, wet, sopping in his shoes. But if you had asked him, he wouldn't have known it was snowing. Sargeant didn't see the snow, not even under the bright lights of the main street, falling white and flaky against the night. He was too hungry, too sleepy, too tired.”(Hughes 1) This quote expresses the state Sargeant is in during the time of the story, and displays the battle he is having with reality. He is so tired and famished, that he is unable to be affected by the coldness of the snow. Jesus is another example of his lost grip of reality, and the fact that it is Jesus he is imagining is almost confirmation or reassurance that he is freed from his mental and physical imprisonment, only to transition to realistic imprisonment. The difference between the two is Sargeant’s original stalemate in life was due to his metaphorical imprisonment which is something he had control of; however, his current state of imprisonment is an uncontrollable standstill in life. Sargeant is a metaphor for the digression of African Americans in a “White” world.

Posted by: Jose Garcia at February 10, 2013 04:54 PM

Marquisa Turner
ENG 122-CA04 Academic Writing II
Dr. Hobbs
9 February 2013

Question: Allusions: Recall the popular children’s story of “Samson and Delilah” as revealed in the Old Testament. How is that tale similar to the scene when Sargeant collapses the building by pulling on the pillars? How are the two stories different or reversed?

Answer: The tale and the scene is similar because when both Samson and Sargeant pulled the pillars down they were crushing their enemies or people that were against them and they both had some form of communication. They are different because Sargeant did not pull the church down on purpose and his communication with Christ was after the incident , and in the tale Samson had asked Christ for the strength one more time and he made a sacrifice to kill his enemies by taking his own life.

Posted by: Marquisa Turner at February 10, 2013 06:12 PM

Anthony Jannetta
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 122 CA04
11 February 2013


Question: Parallelism: In the beginning of the story, Sargeant goes up to various buildings, hoping for something and gets another. At the end of the story, in his fantasy, he repeats this situation on the train car. Discuss how the situation at the end is similar to the situations at the beginning of the story.

Answer: In the beginning of the story, Sargeant tried to find a place to sleep, but all he had was refusal. Indeed he had refusal by the reverent: “No!” (Langston Hugues, 1), and in the Relief Shelter: “the beds were always gone and supper was over.” (Langston Hugues, 1) We can see that in this case, Sargeant was searching a safe place in order to escape to the cold but all he found was equal or worse. It is exactly the same thing for the train car. Indeed, he went into the train car in order to escape to the cold. But all he had in front of him was cops “But strangely, enough, the car was full of cops” (Langston Hugues, 4). We can find a parallelism between these two cases: in both of them, Sargeant was trying to find a better reality, a safe place, somewhere to be in peace; but in both cases what he found wasn’t what he expected at the beginning.

Posted by: Anthony Jannetta at February 10, 2013 07:09 PM

Jazmine Dixon
Dr.Hobbs
English 122 CA04 On The Road
8 Feb 2013

Question: Discuss any Symbolism you discover regarding “color” in Langston Hughes’s “On the Road”


Answer: A symbol is something that represents something else by association, resemblance, or
convention. In this story Langston Hughes say’s, the big black man turned away. And even yet he didn't see the snow, walking right into it. Maybe he sensed it, cold, wet, sticking to his jaws wet on his black hands, sopping in his shoes. He stopped and stood on the sidewalk hunched over--hungry, sleepy, cold--looking up and down. Then he looked right where he was--in front of a church. Of course! A church! Sure, right next to a parsonage, certainly a church.

Posted by: Jazmine Dixon at February 10, 2013 07:30 PM

Lauren Irish
Dr.Hobbs
Eng 122 CA04
10 February 2013

Question: 6. Allusions: Recall the often-told parable of “the Good Samaritan” as revealed in the Gospels of the
New Testament. How is this narrative relevant to Langston Hughes’s “On the Road”?

Answer: "On the Road" is similar to "the Good Samaritan" by the priest denied him access into the church doors and in "the Good Samaritan" when the traveler had been beaten up the priest didn't stop to look at the victim he just kept walking by.

Posted by: Lauren Irish at February 10, 2013 08:05 PM

Brynn Laverdure
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 122 CA08 Academic Writing II
February 10, 2013

Question: Discuss any Symbolism you discover regarding “imprisonment” in Langston Hughes’s “On the
Road.” What are the literal functions of prisons? Is Sargeant a prisoner before he goes to jail?
What about Jesus?

Answer: The literal purpose and functions of prison is confinement of people convicted of serious crimes. In the story Sargeant is a prisoner of his own skin color. Jesus is a prisoner of the church and people such as the priest racist and prejudice views. Hughes writes "'Wonder where Christ is by now?' Sargeant thought. 'He must-a gone on way on down the
road. He didn't sleep in this jungle'"(Hughes 4).

Posted by: Brynn Laverdure at February 10, 2013 11:00 PM

Jacob Gates
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 CA02 Academic Writing II
11th of February 2013

Question: Discuss any Dualisms/Polarities you discover in Langston Hughes’s “On the Road.” HINT: Start with colors and then, perhaps, temperatures. These may bleed over into symbolism but, here, discuss dichotomy.

Answer: There are several different dichotomies within Langston Hughes’ short story, “On the Road,” one of which is the comparison between different materials. Stone vs. Wood is one comparison that can be noted; when the church is being described, every part of the church is described as being wooden, save for the crucifix and Christ himself. Wood is considerably weaker than stone, and stone is also something does not change, while wood rots and erodes away. The dichotomy between warmth and cold is the second most important pairing. Cold represents fear, weariness, and death, while heat represents safety, peace, and strength. Sargeant feels cold throughout the entirety of the story, and only feels heat after he’s carried the stone pillar of the church (a representation of the cross that Christ himself bore), and walked with Jesus.

Posted by: Jacob Gates at February 11, 2013 02:52 AM

Marlie Gonzalez
Dr.hobbs
Eng 122 Academic Writting II
11 Febuary 2013

Question:Discuss any symbolism you discover regarding "stone" in langston hughe's "On the Road"

Answer:The church was built on stone. Stone represents strength.

Posted by: Marlie Gonzalez at February 11, 2013 10:27 AM

Jillian Stolzenburg
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 122 CA04
11 February 2013

Question: Discuss any Symbolism you discover regarding “stone” in Langston Hughes’s “On the Road”

Answer: In Langston Hughes's "On the Road" stone is used to symbolize the parallel from Sargeant to Jesus. In the story Jesus is made of stone "Sargeant looked at the man of stone" (Hughes 3). Typically you would think of stone as being strong. A common phrase you hear is "they're my rock". Jesus is the one person in the story that supports sargeant. Sargeant is parallel to Jesus when he is carrying the stone over his shoulder "Sargeant got out from under the church and went walking on up the street with the stone pillar on his shoulder" (Hughes 2). This is similar to when Jesus carries the cross down the road.

Posted by: Jillian Stolzenburg at February 11, 2013 11:08 AM

Alexia Chambers
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 CA04
February 6, 2013
1. Discuss any Ironies you discover in Langston Hughes’s “On the Road.” HINT: Start with the actions of the clergymen. Separately, you might also consider the important artwork in the church.
The reverend turns him away from his house in the snow when sergeant tell him all the shelters are close or full but he still says no. When he tried to get into the church, the doors were locked and cops came to talk him away. Reverends and church figures are supposed to be kind and let those less fortunate stay for a night. After being beat by the cops, he must have blacked out and the rest of the story is like a dream. He wakes up and he sees he has been in prison the whole time. He is in jail but at least he has a place to sleep. Ironies about Jesus are, we expect Jesus to be strong but he was stuck on the cross in the church, in the story sergeant had the strength to get him down off the cross.

Posted by: Alexia Chambers at February 11, 2013 12:02 PM

Ti’rani Rye
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA08
2 October 2013
Question: 3. Discuss any Symbolism you discover regarding “color” in Langston Hughes’s “On the Road”
Answer: The color white is prominent throughout the story: snow, white stone church for the white people. This story takes place during nighttime which makes the white snow very prominent. White is a symbol for all things that are good, pure, and clean. White snow falls on Sargeant who is portrayed as a Negro, a coon, a “big black man” which at that time would be seen as a poor, unworthy, and unclean. The repetition of the description of Sargeant as “the big black man” is very symbolic as to how the world sees him which is as said before is poor, unworthy, and unclean. And at the beginning of the story is when the author states that he doesn’t even notice the white snow and it is only after when he is rejected from the clergyman when he feels the cold and wetness of the white snow which can correlate to the white supremacist of the time.

Posted by: Ti'rani Rye at October 3, 2013 03:45 PM

Ti’rani Rye
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA08
2 October 2013
Question: 3. Discuss any Symbolism you discover regarding “color” in Langston Hughes’s “On the Road”
Answer: The color white is prominent throughout the story: snow, white stone church for the white people. This story takes place during nighttime which makes the white snow very prominent. White is a symbol for all things that are good, pure, and clean. White snow falls on Sargeant who is portrayed as a Negro, a coon, a “big black man” which at that time would be seen as a poor, unworthy, and unclean. The repetition of the description of Sargeant as “the big black man” is very symbolic as to how the world sees him which is as said before is poor, unworthy, and unclean. And at the beginning of the story is when the author states that he doesn’t even notice the white snow and it is only after when he is rejected from the clergyman when he feels the cold and wetness of the white snow which can correlate to the white supremacist of the time.

Posted by: Ti'rani Rye at October 3, 2013 03:45 PM

Madison Owens
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 122 Academic Writing II CA08
3 October 2013

Question #11: "Are there any similarities between this story and Ambrose Bierce’s “An Occurrence on Owl Creek Bridge”?"

Answer: One similarity to "An Occurrence on Owl Creek Bridge" that stuck out to me while reading "On the Road" was the racism during these two time periods. Though in Bierce's piece, racism wasn't as up front as it was in "On the Road", it was still very much so prevalent during the civil war, which is a part of the setting in that short story. There are numerous times that racism occurs in "On the Road", including in the opening paragraphs where Hughes' writes, "But the minister said, "No," and shut the door. Evidently he didn't want to hear about it. And he had a door to shut.
The big black man turned away" (Hughes 1).

-----------------

*NOTE* The deadline for this particular assignment has now passed. Any comments listed below are *ONLY* for the reposting of comments that I specifically asked to be revised or are ones from non-student posters. Any 'student' posts below that missed the assignment deadline will not get credit for the assignment. ~ Dr. Hobbs

Posted by: Madison Owens at October 3, 2013 10:49 PM

Maxx Howarth
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG122 Academic Writing II CA12
13 February 2014

QUESTION #8:
Parallelism: How are the actions of Sargeant similar to the actions of Christ? How are they different?

ANSWER:
The actions of Sargeant are similar to those of Christ because, much like Christ, Sargeant is forced treach for miles while in harsh conditions, and everyone he comes in contact with won't help him, they merely just display acts of prejudice whether it be shutting the door in his face because of skin color (Hughes 1) or yelling at him for seeking the comfort of a church (Hughes 2). In the end he is then punished, sent to prison, and beaten without remorse (Hughes 4). On the other hand, his actions are different from those of Christ because, unlike Christ, Sargeant tries to fight back against those wish to prevent his cause and laughed at the thought of them hurt (Hughes 2).

Posted by: Maxx Howarth at February 13, 2014 03:53 PM

Bianca T. Smith
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
Academic Writing II CA12
16 Feb. 2014

Question #6-Allusions: Recall the often-told parable of "the Good Samaritan" as revealed in the Gospels of the New Testament. How is this narrative relevant to Langston Hughes's "On the Road"?

Answer: The often-told parable of "the Good Samaritian" is relevant to Langston Hughes's "On the Road" because in the Langston Hughs's story, it shows that the white people don't want to help Sargeant just because he is black and lack of employment. Later in the story,the cruel and racist cops hold the power and Sargeant can't escape and no one is able to help him. The Good Samaritan shows that even a jewish and samaritian, who despise each other, the samaritian helps the jewish that was on the road when others didn't.


Posted by: Bianca T. Smith at February 16, 2014 05:49 PM

Makenzie Holler
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA12
14 February 2014

Question #10: General Discussion: Does it seem reasonable that a person of the Christian faith would experience, at least, some sort of satisfaction from his or her association with Jesus of Nazareth? In the story, for a while, both Sargeant and Christ are "fellow" on the same path to the railroad. What happens? Do Sargeant and Christ have joy from each other's company?

Answer: It is very reasonable for someone of the Christian faith to experience some sort of satisfaction from his or her association with Jesus or Nazareth. Jesus is supposed to bring people fulfillment which makes satisfaction reasonable for someone to receive. When Sargeant and Christ are both "fellows" on the same path, Sargeant realizes that Christ is with him through every step of the way. Sargeant has much joy with Christ presence. Sargeant at first is skeptical about Christ being there for him, but soon finds out that Christ is with him through the worst times.

Posted by: Makenzie Holler at February 16, 2014 08:58 PM

Sawyer Hand
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA12
17 February 2014

Question: Discuss any Dualisms/Polarities you discover in Langston Hughes's "On the Road."

Answer: In Langston Hughes's "On the Road" there are multiple dualisms/polarities. The main character, Sargeant, is telling the story through his point of view. At the end of the story you find out he isn't where he thought he was, but instead is in a prison cell. Examples of this are in the following lines, "Sargeant grabbed the train and started to pull himself up into a moving coal car, over the edge of a wheeling coal car. But strangely, enough, the car was full of cops. The nearest cop rapped Sargeant soundly across the knuckles with his night stick...Suddenly Sargeant realized that he really was in jail. He wasn't on no train." This is an example of a dualism because Sargeant believed he was trying to get on a moving train. In actuality he was grabbing the bars of his jail cell. One more example is, "Then he must have been talking to himself because he said, 'I wonder where Christ's gone? I wonder if he's gone to Kansas City?'" This is another example because Sargeant thought he was talking to Christ the whole night when in reality he was just talking to himself.

Posted by: sawyer hand at February 17, 2014 12:29 AM

Sarah A Ellis
Dr. B Lee Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA12
14 February 2014

Question 3:
Discuss any Symbolism you discover regarding “color” in Langston Hughes’s “On the Road.”

Answer:
Throughout this short story, there were many symbolism regarding color such as “falling white and flaky” represents the falling snow (Hughes 1). The red and green lights were symbolized for the railroad tracks (Hughes 3). Gray is referring to the sky color as the sun is getting ready to set in the morning (Hughes 4).

Posted by: Sarah Ellis at February 17, 2014 01:25 AM

Traneisha Cunningham
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA12
17 February 2014

QUESTION #11:
Are there any similarities between this story and Ambrose Bierce's "An Occurrence on Owl Creek Bridge"?

ANSWER:
Langston Hughes' "On the Road" and Ambrose Bierce's "An Occurrence on Owl Creek Bridge" have a similarity but the way the authors set up the structure of the story. As the reader reads the short story the main character seems to overcome the conflict that they are in but later on the story then reveals that it was just all within the main character's head. "'Shut up,' barked the cop. 'You crazy coon!' He rapped Sargeant across the knuckles and punched him in the stomach. 'You ain't out in no jungle now. This ain't no train. You in jail '" (Hughes 4). That is when the story changes and lets the reader know that Sargeant was not successful in getting away from the cops when he broke the church doors, yet he had just imagined that he had. This was the same in "The Occurrence on Owl Creek Bridge" when readers thought the main character had escaped from getting killed and made it back home, but at the end of the story Ambrose Bierce let readers know that it was just in his head. He was not successfully in getting home, yet he was killed.

Posted by: Traneisha Cunningham at February 17, 2014 09:48 AM

Gabriela Caminero
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA12
16 February 2014

Question:
Discuss any Ironies you discover in Langston Hughes’s “On the Road.” HINT: Start with the actions of the clergymen. Separately, you might also consider the important artwork in the church.

Answer:
The irony in the story is the fact that the church is not allowing a black person to enter the church because they are unemployed and colored. Also, the fact that they started to beat him in there when the church is supposed to be a safe haven for everybody. This quote shows how they treated him, “The cops began to beat Sargeant over the head, and nobody protested. But he held on” (Hughes 2).

Posted by: Gabriela Caminero at February 17, 2014 09:55 AM

-----------------

*NOTE* The deadline for this particular assignment has now passed. Any comments listed below are *ONLY* for the reposting of comments that I specifically asked to be revised or are ones from non-student posters. Any 'student' posts below that missed the assignment deadline will not get credit for the assignment. ~ Dr. Hobbs

Posted by: Dr. Hobbs at March 12, 2014 07:17 AM

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