On the Road Essay

624 Words Oct 11th, 2006 3 Pages
Racism and prejudice have plagued society for countless years. Some people do not acquire the job they desire, and others are victims of racial profiling. Many of us have been judged and condemned for being the wrong race. In "On the Road" by Langston Hughes, Hughes uses Sargeant—the main character—to prove the barriers of racism can be broken. The story takes place during the Great Depression, a time period where Caucasians experienced life as a minority. To begin, Hughes applies symbolism and imagery to demonstrate that color should not be a factor in our society. In the short story, snow represents the white race and their attitudes towards African Americans. The snow is described as cold, wet, and sticky. Cold connotes how the …show more content…
When the pillar breaks, Sargeant places it on his shoulder. At this point Hughes is alluding to Jesus. Jesus carried the weight of his people's sins on his shoulder and Sargeant carries the weight of racism and prejudice on his shoulder. In the end of his hardships, Sargeant ends up in jail. He tells the white police offer, "I'm gonna break down this door" (Hughes par. 60). Figuratively speaking, Sargeant is actually saying he is going to break down the barriers of racism. Hughes was not a religious man during his lifetime. It makes sense that Hughes would use imagery to prove the church's hypocrisy. A church is a place of worship that should accept everyone for who they are. However, the church in "On the Road" would not accept Sargeant because of his skin color. Hughes paints a picture in the reader's mind of the church crumbling to pieces. When the church crumbled, so did all of its bogus values and beliefs, and after the church collapsed, Sargeant meets Jesus. Jesus applauds Sargeant for removing him from the crucifix. Hughes uses Jesus—a man who loves everyone just as they are—to once again plant in the reader's mind that racial barriers should be diminished. If Jesus can accept Sargeant, an African American who is unemployed, why can't we all accept African Americans? All throughout the story, Hughes uses symbolism and imagery to tell the reader that racism must be stopped. His use of snow, representing Caucasians, and Sargeant, acting like Jesus,

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