Book Cover Concepts for Langston Hughes + Research
I chose Langston Hughes as my author. He was from Lawrence, Kansas. The three stories chosen were Early Autumn, Salvation, and On the Road.
This story is about two people, Mary and Bill, that were childhood sweethearts. They have not seen each other in many years. They happen to pass each other and start a very awkward conversation. He notices that she looks older, she feels remorse. They speak briefly about their families and invite each other over to catch up on old times. The leaves are drifting slowly between them. She leaves to get on the bus without getting any contact information and her heart sinks. It is revealed at the end of the story that Mary named her youngest son Bill.
Themes: Fleeting time, nostalgia, lost love
This story is about a 13 year old boy that is called to the front of the congregation at church to be saved. The adults call for the young lambs to rise up and accept Jesus Christ. The boy takes this very literally and expects to physically see Christ. The people lay hands on the children and the commotion gets louder and louder in anticipation for the moment that they stand up and accept Christ. The boy's friend stands up because he is tired of the commotion. The boy does not want to lie and therefor sits and sits. It is not clear how much time passes, but the anticipation grows and finally, he stands. At the end of the story the boy is crying in bed because he lied.
Themes: Prayer, Salvation, Innocence
On the Road
Perhaps the most chilling of all the stories that I read is On the Road. The story is set during the Great Depression. The man is in Kansas, I believe, traveling along the railroad tracks looking for a place to stay. It is extremely cold. There is a sense of desperation in the air as he is looking for shelter. He arrives at the steps of an all white church that he is not permitted to enter. The people gather around watching him beat down the doors and someone calls the police. The police arrive and the man is dragged away. He holds onto the pillar of the church and imagines that the pillar breaks in half and the church falls on everyone around him. He then has a vision of Christ, telling him he is going to Kansas City. The man trails off into the "jungle" where there is a light of a fire. He says, "There's no doors there." No doors to keep him out. Jesus says farewell and the man is left with his thoughts. He wakes up and realizes he is behind bars, in jail where he is still facing the horrible treatment of the police officers.
Themes: Desperation, Isolation, Destruction
On the Road
(falling leaves, fleeting love, passing time, autumn colors)
(lost connection, loneliness, missed opportunity, loss)