What are challenges the character faced in the story "Berry" by Langston Hughes?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The main character of “Berry” is faced with the challenge of powerlessness.  He realizes that the children at his workplace are being neglected and he himself is overworked, and he can do nothing about it.

When Milberry shows up at Dr. Renfield’s Summer Home for Crippled Children, no one is expecting a black boy.  They are not sure what to do with him, but Dr. Renfield decides to pay him $2 less and keep him.

Miberry was a nice black boy, big, good-natured, and strong…He needed work and food.

Milberry is not educated because he came from the south where there were not many colored schools, but “he had plenty of mother wit and lots of intuition about people and places.”  He knows he is being taken advantage of, but he does everything that has been asked of him because he has been hungry too long.

Milberry begins to think that there is something phoney about the place, which is far from town.  No one seems to have the children’s interests at heart.  Milberry spends time with them, and the staff let him because they don’t like to.

The children became Milberry’s friends.  They adored him and he them. 

One day Berry is helping take the children to the beach and one falls, and he is fired.  And so the only person who cares about the children has to leave them.


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