Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"Slave on the Block." Langston Hughes.

One-minute review: Wealthy white couple romanticizes and fantasizes about a young black man, Luther. The wife even wants to paint his portrait half-naked on the slave auction block. Luther and Mattie, the wealthy white couple’s maid, become a couple and the white people’s play things.

Quote: “So they went in for the art of Negroes—the dancing that had such jungle life about it, the songs that were so simple and fervent, the poetry that was so direct, so real. They never tried to influence that art, they only bought it and could rave over it, and copied it. For they were artists to.”

One day, tired of being the white couple’s playthings, Luther and Mattie stand up to them and the white man’s mother and, directed to leave the household, they do. With the painting of the half-naked Luther on the slave block by the white wife unfinished, which she laments.

Comment: Not much of a story. About the only thing interesting is the bizarre relationship between the fawning white couple and rebelling blacks. RayS.

Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. Eds. Edgar V. Roberts and Henry E. Jacobs. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1989.

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