Analysis of James Baldwin's 'My Dungeon Shook: A Letter to my Nephew'

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Baldwin's My Dungeon Shook: A Letter to my Nephew

Does the American Dream belong to every one or does it exclude some individuals? The American Dream is a very powerful force that molds America. It has existed for many generations but has it changed over time? The foundation of the Dream tends to stay the same that is the pursuit of happiness, hope, freedom, justice and equality. The concepts within the American Dream should alter to fit the changes of society. The breakthroughs and obstacles that America overcomes should shift the American Dream. Society may see the American Dream as a dangerous power causing them to be scared to challenge the concepts of the traditional American Dream. Will society become dysfunctional if someone
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African Americans have to strive extremely hard to be successful and obtain a place in America. When reading Baldwin’s statement it seems much like Martin Luther King Jr. statement: “One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land”(3). African Americans are trying to obtain their place in American society but are restricted to the area that the white Americans set aside for them. Both Martin Luther King Jr. and James Baldwin are striving to make a difference to better America by publicly sharing their emotions.

Indeed Baldwin’s letter expressed public awareness but it also consisted of personal elements that only his nephew was intended to understand. “You can only be destroyed by believing that you really are what the white world calls a nigger” (Baldwin 243). This statement illustrates the pain that Baldwin feels deep inside. When a person calls someone a nigger it lowers their self-worth and causes them thoughts of despair. The white society can be hurtful to African Americans by underestimating what they say. When someone is constantly being called a nigger they start to believe that they really are what they have always been called. When a person believes they are a nigger they lower their goals and ostracism thinking that they are not accepted and they will never be. Situations like this are hard to grasp unless one lives them like Baldwin did. The fact that
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