In all his writing, Himes is concerned with the daily realities, the pressures and humiliations, of being black in a racist society dominated by whites.
Although his work leaves little doubt as to whom the real enemy is, it also reveals the agonized awareness that blacks often do little to help their own cause, and thus remain the prisoners of their weaknesses and obsessions.
Himes expresses these concerns indirectly in his detective novels through the violent adventures of his two black detectives in Harlem. In Pinktoes, he reveals his vision of the black experience in America more directly, in a savagely funny satire of Harlem's black liberals.
Himes's protagonist is Mamie Mason, an upper-middle-class black woman who believes she is devoted to solving "the Negro problem." In reality, Mamie is totally preoccupied with sex, as are all the other characters. Her idea of helping...
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The Pinktoes Study Pack contains:
Pinktoes Short Guide
Chester Himes Biographies (5)
1,997 words, approx. 7 pages
His reputation rests largely on his detective novels, which in their own right rank with the best noir fiction, but Chester Himes (1909-1984) was hardly a man to be pigeonholed. In his lifetime he pub...
2,642 words, approx. 9 pages
Chester Himes is one of the curiosities of American literature, a fiercely independent black writer whose many faults have alienated both white and black critics, save for a few who have insisted that...
7,935 words, approx. 27 pages
Novelist, essayist, short-story writer, and journalist, Chester Himes made his mark as a satirist and as a writer of detective novels. In 1970 John A. Williams maintained that "Himes is perhaps the ...
12,174 words, approx. 41 pages
Chester Bomar Himes's career extended from the mid 1930s to the mid 1980s, a time of enormous social change and racial turmoil in the United States. His work is remarkable for the honesty, intensity, ...
5,816 words, approx. 20 pages
In 1957 Chester Himes was so down and out in Paris that he was ready to write almost anything to make a buck--even a detective novel. Himes was at that point a "serious" novelist who had never written...