The short story “One Friday Morning” is a short story by Langston Hughes and it’s one of the stories found in “The Short Stories of Langston Hughes by Langston Hughes. The main theme of the short story is undoubtedly discrimination because the text is focusing on racism when the high school student Nancy Lee Johnson is not awarded the Artist Club scholarship because she is colored. Therefore the short story is a great picture of the American society in the 1950s where the discrimination of the colored people still was practised among some of the white people.
Despite of the discrimination the people still believes in The American Dream. Through the main character Nancy Lee we get to know a strong girl with a vision and hope for an America with liberty and justice for all people no matter who they are. The love for the flag and the country shines through the whole story. It’s a bit of a typical sugary story despite it has a serious issue about discrimination. The story is about Nancy Lee Johnson a high school student in the 1950s America.
She is smart and a pretty girl with a lot of talent and she is popular among her white classmates and her white teachers. She doesn’t stand out from the others except for her beautiful brown skin but that is not an issue for her or her classmates. She is proud to be an American and there are many examples of that in the text. For example she often refers to the American flag. The flag is for example featured in her picture and in her speech to the assembly for the Artist Club scholarship. In her picture the flag is a symbol for The American Dream, freedom and justice.
In her speech she uses the flag’s bright stars for something to believe in. “…believes in American opportunity and American fairness – and bright stars in our flag. ” (p 33, ll 12-13). In fact the whole speech is dedicated to America because she loves her country and because she is so proud of the fact that she is about to receive the Artist Club scholarship. She believes that America deserves to be better for all the people of America. The short story is narrated by a third person limited narrator but from Nancy’s point of view.
That works very well because you get to know Nancy’s thoughts and her view of the story. There is nearly always a positive mood throughout the short story. There are only good people mentioned in the text like Miss Dietrich and Miss O’Shay. The committee is the only bad people who are mentioned. The language in the text is also making the story positive because there are almost no negative words and sentences. Instead there are many positive descriptions of dreams and persons in the text. The means in the text is also making the story positive.
For example the symbols in the text are nearly all positive. A good example of that is Nancy’s frame to her picture. She chooses the color blue for the frame, which symbolizes many positive things like peace, loyalty and harmony. Langston Hughes also tries to have an effect on us. He is a typical American author who is only talking good about his country and you can hear that he is proud of his country. Therefore he tries to get us the feeling that it? s good to be colored in America in the 1950s at least in the North.
But he is an African American so he also want to set focus on the problem of discrimination in America. It looks like that it? s good to be colored in the story because it looks like they have rights and because there is justice in the story. But one Friday morning the color of Nancy’s skin suddenly becomes a disadvantage for her. She gets the Artist Club scholarship taken away from her because the committee learned that she is colored. That’s why the title of the short story is “One Friday Morning” because this situation could happen everyday at that time in America.
But Miss O’Shay gives Nancy hope again and she realizes that her American Dream is still there to achieve when Miss O’Shay say: “But America is only what Americans who believe in it, make it. “ (p 35, ll 14-15). Now Nancy wanted to change America when she becomes a woman with help from men and woman like Miss O’Shay. “… one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. ” (p 36, ll 17-18). “That is the land we must make, she thought. ” (p 36, l 20) “One Friday Morning” is a kind of glorified picture of America in the 1950s.
It tells a daily story about a young talented girl who gets discriminated only because she is colored. She is a hardworking student and every pupil and teacher of the school like her. Still there are people in America in the 1950s that discriminates her only because of her color. She didn’t win the Artist Club scholarship. Instead she learned that the best fight against discrimination is to believe in her self and stand against ignorance and narrowness. Langston Hughes message to us is that in despite of injustice The American Dream lives on for all Americans.