58 pages 1 hour read

Chester Himes

If He Hollers Let Him Go

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1945

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Chapters 8-12Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 8 Summary

After leaving the hotel, Alice drives angrily across L.A., fluctuating between 70 and 90 mph. Inevitably, two white officers on motorcycles pull them over for speeding. When the police see that Bob and Alice are black, they call them “coons” (61)and give them a hard time. One of the cops, however, is confused by Alice’s skin color, asking if she is white. Bob says, “She’s a coon, too” (61). Alice is shocked by how they are speaking to her in such a manner and claims that, through her father’s connections with the mayor, she can easily have them removed from the police force. The officers are confused by her authoritative tone and the apparent confidence behind her threats, so instead of taking them in themselves, they insist on Bob driving and following them to the police station. After being booked, Bob pays bail and the desk sergeant tells them to “get back to where they belong and stay there” (62). 

After their run-in with the police, Bob and Alice go to the beach for a little while. Alice begins to cry, saying she wishes she were a man, and Bob observes that being a man does not make a difference if you are black.

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