Chester Himes' Blind Man With a Pistol
The blind man in Blind Man With a Pistol is a metaphor for violence in the lives of American blacks.
Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson are modelled on a pair of black policemen Himes knew in Watts.
The scenes of violence in Himes's novels are drawn from what Himes saw and knew of black life in America.
Two major themes dominate the work of Chester Himes.
Himes was concerned with the ways social and economic inequality affected the lives of blacks in the United States.
He attempted to articulate a thesis of the ways in which blacks should respond to that inequality.
Himes believed violence enveloped the lives of American blacks and would inevitably be part of the solution to the situation.
Blind Man With a Pistol offers insight into Himes' view of violence in the lives of American blacks and the ways in which they do and should respond to such violence.
Himes' Harlem novels were never true detective genre pieces.
The earlier novels fulfilled few traditional expectations and the later novels withdrew further from preconceived notions of the detective story.
The significance of the novels is their progressive movement toward a concentration on Harlem as symbol.
Himes' used the detective genre to view the lives of Harlem blacks through individuals who by race were a part of it but who by livelihood were separated from it.
Himes continues to be footnoted to Richard Wright.
This reduces the significance of Himes's work.
Himes goes beyond mere naturalism by revealing the absurdity to which the treatment of American blacks give rise.
Charles Chestnutt would have appreciated the absurdity Himes tried to portray in his novels.
Chestnutt's novels generally concerned the issue of "passing."
Chestnutt demonstrated the absurdities to which the nature of the relationship between blacks and whites in the United States has given ris...