Originally published 1934
Country United States of America
Preceded by Scottsboro limited
Publication date 1934
Genre Short story collection
|Pages 248 (first edition) / 272 (1990 paperback)|
ISBN 0-679-72817-1 (1990 paperback)
LC Class PZ3.H87313 Way PS3515.U274
Publishers Alfred A. Knopf (first edition), Vintage Books (1990)
Similar Langston Hughes books, Other books
The Ways of White Folks is a collection of short stories by Langston Hughes, published in 1934. Hughes wrote the book during a year he spent living in Carmel, California. The collection, "marked by pessimism about race relations, as well as a sardonic realism or, contextually: humorous racism," is among his best known works. Like Chesnutt's The Conjure Woman (1899) and Wright's Uncle Tom's Children (1938), it is an example of a short story cycle.
The collection consists of 14 short stories:
In September 1996, upon the publication of a comprehensive edition of Hughes's short stories entitled The Short Stories of Langston Hughes (ISBN 0-8090-1603-6), David Herbert Donald, in a review published by The New York Times, wrote:
Hughes's short stories might occupy a larger place in American literature had they all lived up to the standard he set in The Ways of White Folks, written when he was under the immediate influence of D. H. Lawrence and when he was still a passionate socialist. He could not sustain the tone of those powerful, polemical pieces. Temperamentally averse to confrontation, in subsequent years he allowed his tone to slip from irony to sarcasm, and his later short stories — some of which ran to only two or three pages — were often scenes or vignettes, without much room for characterization or development.
David Herbert Donald called "Cora Unashamed" — one of the stories in The Ways of White Folks — "a brilliantly realized portrait of an isolated black woman in a small Middle Western town, who stoically survives her own sorrows but in the end lashes out against the hypocrisy of the whites who employ her." That story was adapted into a film of the same name from The American Collection directed by Deborah M. Pratt, starring Regina Taylor and Cherry Jones, and released in 2000. Cinematographer Ernest Holzman won an American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Award, for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Movies of the Week/Mini-Series'/Pilot for Network or Basic Broadcast TV, for his work on this film.