James Baldwin

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AP Language: The Language of Composition Sample Responses to Questions on A Talk to Teachers by James Baldwin 1. In the opening paragraph, Baldwin establishes his ethos by connecting himself to his audience as a fellow citizen and fellow American, someone who loves his country and wants it to be whole and healthy. Though he identifies the chief fear of his audience as the fear of Communist, he proposes that the ore fearful aspect of American society of the early 1960s is the “bad faith and cruelty” of generations. Baldwin builds credibility with his audience by recognizing teachers as powerful people who “deal with the minds and hearts of young people.” His audience senses that he as a deep respect for what teachers do each day. He…show more content…
* Empathy for African American children and their parents who have to enforce the unfair rules (para 4): “his father or mother slaps him and drags him to the back of the bus” * Pride in one’s local area (para 5): “tremendous monuments we find all over New York,”contrasted with “[i]f he lives in one of those housing projects of which everyone in New York is so proud”; his appeal to pathos is sardonic in tone * Sense of the tragic nature of the life of African Americans in poor areas (para 5): “the pimps, the whores, the junkies” 4. By showing his firsthand experience of the visible contrast between uptown and downtown – the “white world” where garbage is collecged, the ownership and pride those who live downtown experience as opposed to the vision of the housing projects in paragraph 5 – Baldwin convinces the audience further that he knows what he is talking about. His vivid imagery appeals to the listeners’senses. Baldwin deepens his credibility with his audience of teachers as a person who has lived through this disparity, and he enables them to see and to feel the shocking difference between the ghetto and the white neighborhood through his eyes. 7. Baldwin uses quotation marks around the word and states, “you called me
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