Last Updated on August 5, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 520
Here are some quotes from If He Hollers Let Him Go:
I dreamed a fellow asked me if I wanted a dog and I said yeah, I'd like to have a dog and he went off and came back with a little black dog with stiff gold-tipped black hair and sad eyes that looked like a wire-haired terrier. (1)
Bob begins his narrative with several dreams he has. The first is of a man who asks if he wants a dog and brings a black wire-haired terrier with a wire around its neck. This dog is symbolic of Bob and the way in which he feels like he is always on a constricting and painful leash.
I was asking two white men for a job. They looked as if they didn't want to give me the job but didn't want to say so outright. Instead they asked me if I had my tools. I said I didn't have any tools but could do the job. They began laughing at me, scornfully and derisively. (2)
In another dream, Bob asks white men for a job, and they laugh at him. Bob feels this scorn and racism at the shipyard where he works, and he feels that he has been stripped of his tools, or his dignity.
Cleveland wasn't the land of the free or the home of the brave either. That's one reason I left there to come to Los Angeles; I knew if I kept on getting refused while white boys were hired from the line behind me I'd hang somebody as sure as hell. (3)
Bob leaves Ohio to work in California; in Ohio, he kept getting turned down for jobs, and he felt the anger building up inside him—anger that could drive him to hurt someone else.
All that 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. (4)
The Los Angeles where Bob works and lives during World War II is charged with racism. People feel angry at...
(The entire section contains 520 words.)
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