Not Without Laughter

by Langston Hughes

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Here are some quotes from Not Without Laughter by Langston Hughes:

But praise God for sparing our lives! It might've been worse, Sister Williams! It might've been much more calamitouser. (4)

Aunt Hager is always grateful for what she has been spared. Even after a cyclone destroys her chimney, she thanks God that her house is still standing.

I ain't never seen a yaller dude yet that meant a dark woman no good—an' Annjee is dark! (11)

Aunt Hager does not like her son-in-law, Jimboy, who is never home. Instead, her daughter, Annjee, who is Sandy's mother, must provide for the family. Aunt Hager believes that a light-skinned man like Jimboy will run off on his darker wife, as lighter skin was preferred at the time.

I's gwine raise one chile right yet, if de Lawd lets me live—just one chile right! (13)

Aunt Hager vows to raise her grandson, Sandy, the right way.

Colored men couldn't get many jobs in Stanton, and foreigners were coming in and taking what little work they did have. (22)

Annjee does not blame her husband, Jimboy, for leaving their small town, Stanton, as black men do not have many opportunities in the town and have to leave to get work.

"I'm might lucky," Annjee thought, "even if he ain't here." And two tears of foolish pride fell from the bright eyes in her round dark face. (24)

Annjee is proud, but foolishly so, for being married to a light-skinned man and having a light-skinned child, so she forgives her husband, Jimboy, for being away.

"You old fool!" she cried. "Lemme go. You old Christian fool!" (32)

Aunt Hager's youngest daughter, Harriet, does not respect her mother and resists her mother's request that she live a Christian life.

Thank God for night . . . 'cause all day you gives to white folks. (47)

Annjee, who works as a domestic, tells her son that night is the only time black people can be themselves and not serve whites.

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