If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin and John Steinbeck's Novel The Grapes of Wrath

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Andrew Bernstein, an author and professor of philosophy, once said, "Nothing is given to man on earth – struggle is built into the nature of life, and conflict is possible – the hero is the man who lets no obstacle prevent him from pursuing the values he has chosen." Although many people transform into someone they are not and forget what they believe in during challenging times, the true man fights to remain loyal to his morals in the toughest of times. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s quote about the true neighbor exposing his real character and virtue in times of challenge and controversy is revealed in James Baldwin's novel If Beale Street Could Talk and John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath. In Baldwin's novel, Mr. Hayward sticks to his principles in a time of controversy as he risks his reputation for the good of others; in Steinbeck's novel, Jim Casy sacrifices his life for the welfare of others, while refusing to give up his beliefs. As readers witness characters remaining true to themselves during hardships, as well as risking a part of themselves to benefit others, they are reminded through the powerful messages in literature to be cautious of their own reactions to distress and obstacles. In If Beale Street Could Talk, Baldwin reveals that the character— in this case, Mr. Hayward—who remains honest to himself and risks his/her reputation for others portrays the true neighbor. For one thing, Mr. Hayward, the lawyer, refuses to accept the racial stereotypes

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