No Place to Make Love by Langston Hughes
In No Place to Make Love by Langston Hughes we have the theme of struggle, privacy, responsibility, conflict, desperation and hope. Taken from his Short Stories collection the story is narrated in the first person by an unnamed narrator and the reader realizes from the beginning of the story that Hughes may be exploring the theme of struggle. The narrator and Mary have no place to consummate their love for one another. Both their houses are full of people and they have no privacy. That is till they find a field in whereby they have the privacy to make love. However Mary soon falls pregnant much to the chagrin of her parents and the narrator’s parents. Who do everything they possibly can to stop the wedding. However this does not work and the narrator and Mary decide to move to New York, a more vibrant and relaxed city where they can raise their child. In New York they will not be judged by others.
Despite the plans to move to New York the narrator and Mary’s family are still against such a move. The narrator and Mary are after all children themselves and it is easy to see why the parents of both children might not want them to have a child. There is also the fact that the narrator’s mother and his two sisters rely on him to provide for them and they do not wish to go without a breadwinner in the house. Also with children comes responsibility and the narrator’s mother and Mary’s parents may not feel as though their children are mature enough to have children. Regardless of the fact that they love one another.
There may also be some symbolize in the story which might be important. The fact that neither the narrator nor Mary can find a space to make love suggests that the town is small with little or no free space. They do after all have to rely on a field outdoors. The fact that Mary is pregnant gives a sense of urgency to proceedings. With both heading to New York for a better life. It is while in New York that the narrator hopes all his dreams will come true, but this is not the case.
The narrator and Mary are reliant on a black welfare investigator to help them out and the investigator’s own suggestion is that because both the narrator and Mary, though they are white parents, are similar to black people of the time from the South. In love and broke. Something that some readers might find difficult to believe. In a sense of desperation the narrator and Mary do not argue with the welfare investigator as all they need is a place to live and to get a job. Strengthening the fact that the narrator and Mary are very much in love. Despite the hardships that both faced with their parents things are looking up for the narrator and Mary. They may be in a strange town but they have one another to love and their child too. Langston ending the story with a sense of hope and the case of both the narrator and Mary being responsible for their new child.