SIMPLE TAKES A WIFE by Langston Hughes


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Langston Hughes has been called the ""O'Henry of Harlem"" and this second volume of stories about Jesse B. Simple, familiarly known as ""Simple"", justifies it. Here is immediate rollicking laughter, the tang of highly seasoned speech, the solid impact of forceful feeling that should appeal to a wide variety of both Negro and white readers. This is the story of Simple's courtship of Joyce, a respectable, hard-working, churchgoing girl whose morals have not affected her good times. Unfortunately nobody can afford the three payments necessary to obtain Simple's divorce from Isabel, who also wants her freedom. Finally, Isabel pays two thirds, and Simple painfully accumulates the other third, and hangs the decree on Joyce's Christmas tree. But in the months of waiting, Joyce ""jumps salty"" at Simple's slowness, his stopping at bars, his derelictions. It is not the plot that makes the book memorable, but Simple's digressions and philosophy. One is caught between laughter and a catch in the throat, for though Simple's grammar is laughable, his thinking is not.

Pub Date: May 15th, 1953
Publisher: Simon & Schuster