The Old Shelter

Dieselpunk Roaring Twenties. Sarah Zama's Author Blog

Archive for the tag “african american authors”

Thursday Quotables – The Way of the White Folks

“Sit down and tell us what you’s heard, Sister Jenkins.”
“About Douglass?”
“Course ‘baut Douglass. What else is anybody talking ‘bout nowadays?”
“Well, my daughter told me Douglass sister’s say they was in love.”
“Him and that white woman?”
“Yes. Douglass’ sister say it’s been going on ‘fore de woman got married.”
“Uh-huh! Then why didn’t he stop foolin’ with her after she got married? Bad enough, colored boy foolin’ ‘round a unmarried white woman, let alone a married one.”
“Douglass’s sister say they was in love.”
“Well, why did she marry the white man, then?”
“She’s white, ain’t she? And who wouldn’t marry a rich white man? Got his own farm, money and all, even if he were a widower with grown children gone to town. He give her everything she wanted, didn’t he?”
“Everything but the right thing.”

quotation-marks4Took me about two lines to fall in love with Langston Hughes. The power of his prose is something unique. The way he reproduces spoken language in a way that expresses characters and setting is something  I’ve rarely encountered and something I definitely envy as a writer. He can express a lot with such few words.

The excerpt above is a morsel from the short story Mother and Child from the The Ways of the White Folks collection, but you can easily get the entire story and even part of the setting from it. It’s really like I’m sitting with these women, talking about someone I know. This is what I really love about Hughes’ art.

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Did you like this quote? Here’s a few things you might want to do.

  1. Head over to Bookshelf Fantasies, who sponsors the Thursday Quotables, and join in the fun.
  2. Post a quote on your blog and make sure to leave a link in the comment box below. I’ll be sure to visit and comment.
  3. Maybe you’ve read this author too and would love to share your opinion. By all means do it in the comment box below. I’ll never object.

Thursday Quotable – The Real Cool Killers

She was as tall as his six feet two, with snow white hair cut short as a man’s and brushed straight back from her forehead. Her lips were painted carnation red and her eyelids silver but her smooth unlined jet black skin was untouched. She wore a black sequined evening gown with a red rose in the V of her mammoth bosom, which was a lighter brown than her face. She looked like the last Amazons blackened by time.

Chester Himes – The Real Cool Killers

quotation-marks4There are many reasons why I like Himes’ stories in spite of their unevenness in quality. He has a gift for language, reading his stories is like listening to him recounting them so vivid they are. He has a gritty feel for characters and situations that lend credibility to both even when the story is so unlikely it becomes surreal. He creates cameo characters so strong that they nearly demands to become main characters (which is what actually happened with his two most famous characters, Coffin Ed Johnson and Gravedigger Jones).

To me, this quote is a perfect example of this last instance.

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Did you like this quote? Here’s a few things you might want to do.

  1. Head over to Bookshelf Fantasies, who sponsors the Thursday Quotables, and join in the fun.
  2. Post a quote on your blog and make sure to leave a link in the comment box below. I’ll be sure to visit and comment.
  3. Maybe you’ve read this author too and would love to share your opinion. By all means do it in the comment box below. I’ll never object.

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