Story Summary on Langston Hughes’s On the Road
In the story On the Road, author Langston Hughes explores the topics of religion and racism in the time of depression. The story follows Sargeant, a strong, tall black man who finds himself without a place to sleep in. He doesn’t notice that it’s cold and uncomfortable because it is night time and he is hungry and sleepy, searching for a place to stay.
Mr. Dorset, the Reverend of the town, is quick to notice the snow and Sargeant at his door because he is a black man covered with snow’s whiteness. Immediately, Dorset turns him away because he is black and unemployed. Sargeant decides to head to the church with Christ’s crucifix in its window. He decides to force open the door of the church, which makes the white people in the street yell at him, shocked. In a struggle with policemen, the black man breaks the church down, and he is the only one who manages to survive.
It is at this point that Sargeant comes to the realization that Christ has left the crucifix and is walking with him. They talk about slavery and going separate ways, until they depart, going in opposite directions. Sargeant spends the night in the railroad yard and in the morning tries to get on a train to someplace else. He is stopped by a group of policemen who beat his hands.
Suddenly, Sargeant finds himself in jail, having been captured the previous night by the white cops outside the church. At this point, he realizes that he was hit on the head the night before and that everything was a dream. He feels cold, hungry and bruised, and wonders where Christ had gone, leaving him alone.