Through the Lens of Two Characters from Chester Himess If He Hollers Let Him Go

The country has its real image, as Alice sees it, which is that it is a land of opportunities, freedom, and equality. However, in the eyes of Robert, it is a land of hypocritical racial discriminations. Robert cynically believes that this land of riches actually hinders him from achieving what he is capable of and also has the right to achieve. This paper looks at racism through the lens of Robert Jones and his upper-class black girlfriend Alice Harrison.
The central character of the novel, Robert Jones faced the pathos of being black in a country dominated by the white skinned people. Initially, when he arrived in California, racism was not a major issue for him. Like everyone else, he also thought America as a land of opportunities. The situation became worse and race discrimination came to the forefront only after the Pearl Harbor bombing by the Japanese, “It was the crazy, wild-eyed, unleashed hatred that the first Jap bomb on Pearl Harbour let loose in a flood. All the tight, crazy feeling of race as thick in the street as gas fumes. Every time I stepped outside I saw a challenge I had to accept or ignore” (Himes, 4). The impact was felt not only by the Japanese-Americans but all minority groups. Since Robert is black skinned and works in a superior position in Atlas shipyard, he was constantly under the scanner. The white men who worked under his leadership refused to respect his authority while his superiors look for the smallest mistakes made by him as excuses to remove him from the post. Robert lived in a society that was replete with racism. He faced humiliation everywhere from the bars to the job site and even in every personal relationship. The novel begins with his narration of a dream about a dog with “a piece of heavy still wire twisted around its neck” (1). The dream was a reflection of his increasing fear of near death. Living in a white-dominated world he faced pain and insult every day both from his subordinates and his superiors, leading him to get violent thoughts against white people although he never encouraged those thoughts.&nbsp.