Jim Crow Laws in Langston Hughes’ “Breakfast in Virginia” and “Trouble with the Angels”


Listiyaningsih Listiyaningsih(1*)

(1) Universitas Gadjah Mada
(*) Corresponding Author


This graduating paper analyzes Jim Crow laws as reflected in Langston Hughes’ short stories “Breakfast in Virginia” and “Trouble with the Angels”. This study aims to identify the practice of Jim Crow laws as seen in “Breakfast in Virginia” and “Trouble with the Angels”. This graduating paper applies mimetic theory proposed by Abrams since it is the most suitable approach to be used to analyze the connection between the literary work and the reality. There are two types of data which are used in this paper. The primary data are the short stories entitled, “Breakfast in Virginia” and “Trouble with the Angels”. Meanwhile, the secondary data are the references that support the analysis and are taken from the internet browsing.

Based on the data analysis, this research concludes that segregation is the practice of Jim Crow laws in these two short stories. The segregations are clearly seen mostly in public places. In “Breakfast in Virginia” the segregations happen in the train, specifically in Jim Crow car and in the dining car in Virginia. Meanwhile, in “Trouble with the Angels” the segregations are clearly visible in the hotel and in the theater in Washington. In “Breakfast in Virginia” the segregations are faced by African American soldiers during World War II. Meanwhile, in “Trouble with the Angels” the segregations are experienced by African American actors and the other African American citizens of Washington. These two short stories show that Jim Crow laws made African Americans life getting worse, especially in public places. Both in “Breakfast in Virginia” and in “Trouble with the Angels”, African Americans cannot use the same public facilities as the whites. They can only use public facilities specially provided for the African Americans which have improper conditions. During the practice of Jim Crow laws, their rights are denied. This is proved by the segregations that do not only restrict African Americans from middle or low class status but also restrict those who have a higher status regardless their influential contribution toAmerica. This condition is painful for them.


im Crow laws; segregation; “Breakfast in Virginia”; “Trouble with the Angels”

Full Text:



Abrams, Meyer Howard. A Glossary of Literary Terms. 7th ed. Massachusetts: Earl McPeek, 1999. Print.

Franklin, John Hope. From Slavery to Freedom. New York: Alferd A. Knopf, 1956. Print.

Franklin, John Hope. The Negro in 20th Century America. New York: Vintage Books, 1967. Print.

Hornby, A.S. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary 7th Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. Print.

Hughes, Langston. “Breakfast in Virginia”. Short Stories Langston Hughes. Edited by Akiba Sullivan Harper. New York: Hill and Wang, 1996. 165-167. Print.

Hughes, Langston. “Trouble with the Angels”. Short Stories Langston Hughes. Edited by Akiba Sullivan Harper. New York: Hill and Wang, 1996. 120-125. Print.

Klarman, Michael. From Jim Crow to Civil Right Movements. U.S: Oxford University Press, 2004. Print.

Martin, Ben L. From Negro to Black to African American: The Power of Names and Naming. Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 106, No. 1 (Spring, 1991), pp. 83-107. Print.

Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skill: Exit Level Scoring Guide for Reading and Written Composition. Texas: Texas Education Agency, 2009. Print.


About Ingrid: Biography. The Official Ingrid Bergman Web. Web. Jan 04 2014.

Ayinde. “Creation of the Negro”. 1999. Web. Feb 24 2014.

Bennett, Lerone. “What's in a Name? Negro vs. Afro-American vs. Black”. Ebony Magazine. 23 November 1967. Web. Feb 24 2014.

Kaplan, Erin Aubry. “The Term 'Negro'? Color It Obsolete”. Los Angeles Times’ February 08, 2010. Web. Oct 1. 2013.

McMahon, Mary. “Should I Say “Black” or “African American”?” 16 December 2013. Web. Des 20. 2013.

Middleton, Phil and David Pilgrim. “Nigger (The Word), A Brief History”. African American Registry: A Non-Profit Education Organization. 2001. Web. 23 Sep 2013.

Pilgrim, David. 2000. “Jim Crow Museum: What Was Jim Crow?”. Ferris State University. Web. Oct 12. 2012.

Russell, Tony, Allen Brizee, and Elizabeth Angeli. "MLA Formatting and Style Guide." The Purdue OWL. Purdue University Writing Lab, 4 Apr. 2010. Web. 23 Sep 2014.

Slovick, Lyle & Evan Laney. Eds. “Lisner Auditorium Segregation Controversy 1946”. December 21, 2006. The George Washington University. Web. Jan 6. 2014.

The World of Jim Crow. n.d. Virginia Historical Society. Web. Sep 20 2013.

Yen, Hope. “U.S. Census Surveys Will No Longer Use the Term 'Negro'”. Feb, 25 2013. The Huffington Post. Web. Oct 1. 2013.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.22146/lexicon.v1i3.42085

Article Metrics

Abstract views : 2647 | views : 732


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2012 Listiyaningsih

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Lexicon Office

English Department
Faculty of Cultural Sciences,
Universitas Gadjah Mada
Soegondo Building, 3rd Floor, Room 306
Yogyakarta, Indonesia 55281
Telephone: +62 274 513096
Email: lexicon.fib@ugm.ac.id

ISSN: 2746-2668 (Online)

Web Analytics View Stats

Creative Commons License
LEXICON is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Lexicon is indexed in


About UsSubmissionIssuePoliciesReview