Short Story Saturday: John Archer’s Nose by Rudolph Fisher

“John Archer’s Nose” is a humorous and satirical short story written by Rudolph Fisher. The story is set in the 1920s and revolves around John Archer, a successful black lawyer in Harlem, who is known for his large and prominent nose.

Fisher uses satire to comment on the prejudices and biases that existed in society at the time, particularly around physical appearances. He portrays John Archer’s nose as a symbol of his success and status in the community, but also as a source of ridicule and discrimination from those outside of it.

The story takes a comical turn when a wealthy white woman named Mrs. Vanderpool, who is interested in supporting black charities, offers to donate a large sum of money to Archer’s law firm on the condition that he undergoes a nose job. Archer initially agrees to the proposal, but changes his mind after a dream in which his nose comes to life and convinces him to embrace his natural appearance.

Fisher’s writing style is engaging and witty, and his use of humor effectively highlights the absurdity of the prejudices and biases that existed at the time. He also emphasizes the importance of self-acceptance and the dangers of conforming to societal expectations.

Overall, “John Archer’s Nose” is a thought-provoking and entertaining short story that provides insight into the social dynamics and attitudes of the 1920s, while also delivering a powerful message about self-confidence and authenticity.


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