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On the road

A reader's response to "On the Road," by Langston Hughes. My first response to this short story was very confusing, "Is the author talking about heaven and hell?" After reading the story again and listening to a class discussion, I realize the story is about racism. I'm impressed with the creation of symbolic images Hughes uses to portray his views on racism. I feel that two particular symbols are very significant to this story. The first significant symbol is the cold, white snow. Hughes repetition of the cold, snow portrays his views of the white society. The white society can be cold and uninviting. This view makes me feel ashamed and sad to be a part of the white society. Though in my life experience I have viewed racism in other societies as well. The second significant symbols are the "two doors"of the church, which were closed instead of opened. I have always assumed that churches have always welcomed everyone. I never thought about the past when whites dominated the blacks. This part of the story, I saw the reality of a racist environment. The racist environment that contained white dominance - power. It's really difficult to think that people can act this way. I was never brought up to hate, but have been around friends that have. This short story I felt kept your mind focusing on racism. I feel that the use of symbolism really introduced racism in a view I have never seen. A view portrayed before my life began. The image of the white society and the church allowed me to feel Sargeant's despair. I wish I could have been in the story saying, "This is wrong-this is not how we should treat others." ...

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