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James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room Essay

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James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room

James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room: Function of Parents in the Identity Struggle James Baldwin's novel, Giovanni's Room presents the struggle of accepting homosexuality as one young man's true identity. One way in which Baldwin presents this issue is through the character David and the forces of his father and dead mother. David's father has an idealized vision of his son as rough and masculine which leads David to reject his homosexual identity. He feels his homosexuality inhibits him from becoming the rough and masculine man his father desires. David's father fuels his son's struggle of accepting homosexuality as true
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Because David refuses to accept the fact that he is gay, he constantly struggles to find a way to make himself believe that he is a "man" as his father expects of him. He feels that his homosexuality holds him back from becoming rugged and manly and decides to "allow no room in the universe for something which shamed and frightened" (30) him. David admits that he rejects his shameful homosexual identity and wants to believe that he possesses manly qualities such as independence: "The vision I gave my father of my life was exactly the vision in which I myself most desperately needed to believe" (30). David manipulates his father into allowing him to go to France by making him think that he could develop into the hard-working and tough man that his father hopes for because he himself wants to believe it. In other words, his father ingrains the notion of what a real man is, and so David refuses to come to terms with the sexual feelings that he has for other men by deceiving himself. Baldwin uses the dominating spirit of David's dead mother to illustrate David's inability to embrace his homosexuality as a part of his true identity. The figure of David's dead mother represents David's true homosexual identity. David feels that she is always present and watching
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