Characters Of Life In James Baldwin's Going To Meet The Man

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James Baldwin “Going to Meet the Man” is a book that consists of several short stories. Throughout the book you will begin to observe that some of his characters share similar personality and characteristics, however they are expressed differently. While reading “Come out of the Wilderness”, I observed some of the similarities Ruth shared with Peter from “Previous Condition”, the narrator from “Sonny’s Blues” and Jesse from “Going to meet the Man”. In addition, Baldwin mainly uses all his characters to illustrate what is it like when you are trapped and what you need to do in order to be free. The perception of acceptance, interracial relationships, imprisonment, and shame is also depicted throughout the book but as you further analyze all …show more content…
Both characters are emotionally imprisoned from their thoughts. What makes this story different from the others is that Baldwin showed us how to find balance within our emotions. He used the narrator (Sonny’s older brother) who is imprisoned within himself and used Sonny as someone how was excessively free and risk taking. Baldwin illustrates this for us when the narrator hears Sonny play jazz music at the end of the story. Although the narrator and Sonny was able to find freedom and balance, not all of his characters where able to do it. Ruth frequently finds herself emotionally imprisoned in silence and unable to express herself. Ruth is constantly reminded by her lover Paul that they are not in a relation, will never marry or have children together because of the color of her skin however she never expresses her criticism to him. Instead she mumbles or keeps the comments to herself. Ruth becomes very sensitive to the thought that she may never have the opportunity to settle one day. Baldwin uses Paul as a way to belittle Ruth thus making her feel inferior to him. “She replaces into bitterness, confusion, fury: for she was trapped, Paul was a trap” (page 205). In “Sonny Blues” imprisonment is also reflected. While Sonny is physically imprisoned, thrown into jail, the narrator is also emotionally imprisoned. The narrator is unable to express himself but finally finds the courage to write …show more content…
Many African American authors feel that Baldwin contributed to their literary writing skill. Although many white people condemned Baldwin’s work, he was very well respected by other African American leaders. Tony Morrison, and American novelist, wrote a letter to Baldwin after he passed away, entitled “Life in His Language”, on December 20 1987,in which she states that Baldwin contributed “three gifts: his language, courage, and tenderness”( Sunday, Late City Final Edition Section 7; Page 27, Column 1; Book Review Desk). During that same exact day an African-American writer of poetry, drama, fiction, essays and music criticism named Amiri Baraka, spoke highly of Baldwin referring to him as “more than a good writer, he was an international literary figure”( Late City Final Edition Section 7; Page 27, Column 3; Book Review Desk). It is very important to know that Baldwin made a huge contribution to African American literature and his legacy shall

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