Why, You Reckon?

Why, You Reckon?

Author
Langston Hughes
Major Characters
Narrator/Main Character, Thief, Edward Peedee McGill III
Setting
Harlem, Winter during the Great Depression
Plot
The Narrator is a black man in Harlem during the Depression, and he is starving. Another black man approaches him, telling that he is hungry, and suggests they mug one of the rich white men who frequent the night clubs. They do so, pulling a young, very rich white boy, Edward, into a basement. The other man takes all of his things, and berates him out for his entitled existence, while the narrator stands by and does nothing. The thief leaves, giving nothing to our narrator and leaving him with the Edward. Edward bizarrely thanks the main character for the experience, saying that it was the first exciting thing to ever happen to him. The narrator says he would be happy with what he had if he was rich, and Edward refuses that statement. They go their separate ways on good terms, and the narrator is left feeling just as hungry, and very confused on how a rich white man could ever be dissatisfied.
Themes
Race, Class, “The grass is always greener on the other side,” Confrontation, Sheltered existence vs Real suffering
Motifs
The white boy’s belongings, Bensons Hedges Cigarettes
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