Strangers By Toni Morrison And Stranger In The Village By James Baldwin

1476 Words 6 Pages
“All the people like us are we, and everyone else is They” (Kipling). This quote by Rudyard Kipling is the essence of the problems facing strangers every day. In the articles “Strangers” by Toni Morrison and “Stranger in the Village” by James Baldwin, the latter serves to provide a first-person point-of-view of the experiences in Morrison’s essay. By examining James Baldwin’s experience as a stranger in a secluded Swiss village, which serves to strengthen the theme of “Strangers,” Baldwin’s experience demonstrates how people in a community can frame a stranger 's identity. This experience allows the reader to see what Morrison is doing to her stranger. “Stranger in the Village” serves as a lens when examining the theme of Morrison’s article …show more content…
Baldwin’s article emphasizes the role of the stranger as an individual, not a person belonging to a preconceived group. The subsequent anger and backlash the author manifests toward the mysterious women in the story is a recurring problem that people face when meeting someone new or exploring a new place. “Stranger in the Village” conveys the necessity of treating every person as an individual and how that can shape a person 's thoughts and actions. Baldwin is particularly concerned with the villagers’ preoccupation with his physical appearance,stating , “If I sat in the sun for more than five minutes some daring creature was certain to come along and gingerly put his fingers on my hair, as though he were afraid of an electric shock, or put his hand on my hand, astonished that the color did not rub off”(Baldwin 253). Throughout the story, Baldwin displays his uniqueness in almost everything he does, but because of both social and lingual barriers, the villagers can only take Baldwin for what they see a middle-aged African-American man likened only to the other things they had seen with dark skin, like the Devil. People are inherently unoriginal, and a person’s experience changes how they perceive situations and make similar ideas appear as new and original thoughts. This explains why people instinctively feel the need to categorize strangers into stereotypical groups. Both of the articles emulate the subjectivity of strangers and a person’s thought process but “Stranger in the Village” exhibits an example of the encounter Morrison portrays from the point of the stranger on a much more literal scale. Baldwin’s experience is not unlike that of the stranger in Morrison’s article. Both of the characters are in an unknown place interacting with people

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