Essay on James Baldwin

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Gage Krakower
History 228: African American History
Dr. Jennifer Oast
MWF 2:00-2:50
February 10, 2012 James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin, a homosexual African-American novelist, was once quoted saying that the most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose. What it means is that society’s chief concern should be a person who has absolutely nothing to lose by always sticking to their beliefs, yet everything to gain. James Baldwin embodies that quote to the absolute fullest. Not only did he push the boundaries with his works in novels and articles on racial and sexual matters, but he also was a key component in the civil rights movement and that’s why James Baldwin was important in
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The novel resembles Baldwin’s childhood a lot based on the fact that the novels central theme is about a young man named John Grimes who is the innocent victim of his father, a religious man steeped in disgust and narrowness. It relates to Baldwin’s childhood because he was the innocent victim of a father whom was religious and had a lot of hatred as well. It’s a milestone in the development of American literature because it is the first novel and/or short story about Negroes to be written from a non-racial point of view.
Shortly after publishing his first novel, Baldwin would go on to receive a Guggenheim fellowship. In 1956 he would publish his second novel Giovanni’s Room. Giovanni’s Room fired up a lot of controversy because of the explicit amount of homoerotic content. It also was controversial because he explored interracial relationships, a very touchy topic at the time. “The plot of the novel itself stems from Baldwin’s analysis of the nature and character of homosexuality.” Also, Baldwin was able to connect with a wider audience because too much of the public’s surprise Giovanni’s Room was primarily about white people, not African-Americans. He was also making references to himself in this novel because the main character was living in Paris. Baldwin’s next two novels, Another Country and Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been
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