Wednesday, March 6, 2019
James Baldwin: On What itÃ¢â¬â¢s Really Like Essay
In James Baldwins A unusual in the Village and gents Blues, our eyes argon undefended to the struggles of Afri bath Americans in the 1950s. Baldwin writes ab egress the struggles with individuation, social acceptance, and racial discrimination. It is apparent that Baldwin has a really strong opinion behind the reasoning for these three struggles and he elaborates on each through step forward these two stories. Through bringing these themes to bearing, he helps us to have a closer glimpse of what it was like to be like him.First and foremost, Baldwins writings deal with the overwhelming scent out of identity, or the search for identity. In A Stranger in the Village, he states, At the root of the American pitch blacknessness problem is the necessity of the American snow-covered historicality to become a way of living with the Negro in order to be able to live with himself. (pg. 1712) In this statement, Baldwin is commenting on the search for identity through the idea of what white state compulsion to live with themselves. The black Americans can scarce find identity one time the white man figures out how to live with them having one.He goes on to say, the white mans motive was the protection of his identity the black man was motivated by the need to establish an identity. (pg. 1712) Because black Americans have had to outlast so much struggle and decades of anonymity through the time fo slavery, at this point, they are starting from the ground up to find out who they are as a people and as a community. flush further, they must find out who they are as a people and as a community, and how that fits into the white society surrounding them.In Sonnys Blues, we read about more of a personal identity struggle, rather than a racial identity struggle as a pair of buddy try to find out who they are and what the hateful to each other. Sonny is a heroin addict who only when feels drop when he is surrounded by music. His older brother, the fabric ator, a teacher, does not interpret this, and constantly tries to get Sonny to figure out what it is he sine qua nons out of life. This is a common struggle between family members who live very gelid lives.As we watch the narrator struggle to help Sonny find his identity, he never really reveals his own, other than his identity being that of a caretaker for his brother. All along, even though he is calln as a deal mess with no direction, Sonny is the one who has a strong sense of identity. It isnt until the end of the story, that the narrator can finally see his brother for who he really is. Sonny identifies with the music, and the life-style it exudes. He is comfortable in his own skin when he is surrounded by the music. Sonnys fingers fil guide the air with life.His life. (pg. 1749) Secondly, Baldwin tackles the theme of social acceptance in some(prenominal) pieces. In A Stranger in the Village, Baldwin is living in Chartres, Switzerland, a small mountain town where he can be exclusively removed from the noise and chaos of Harlem or Paris, and he can fair(a) write. When he walks through the small town, he knows that he is the first and only black person most of these people have ever seen. However, he is greeted very differently that in America.As he walks down the street, The children who blackguard Neger have no way of knowing the echoes this sound raises in me. (pg. 1707) such(prenominal) a word that comes with a supremely negative and threatening intension in the U. S. is simply a word spoken by children who see a man different from themselves and are intrigued. Baldwin is seen as more of a side show act, or an exotic creature to the people of Chartres. They are fascinated by his difference from them, but do not await to be threatened or disgusted. The biggest example of social acceptance from A Stranger in the Village would be the image of Baldwin playing with the local anaesthetic children on a nice day.To see a grown black man playing wi th small white children in the United States at this time would not be tolerated. In some break dances of the arena it would absolutely result in jail time, violence, or even death. In Chartres, the children play freely with Baldwin as their parents experience on. It is both socially authorized and celebrated. It is amazing to see the difference in perspective through a difference of history. Americas past dictates its present. In Sonnys Blues, the biggest theme of social acceptance comes with Sonnys chosen lifestyle and profession.As he struggles with a heroin addiction, he also struggles to agree a life for himself through his music. There is a stigma place on artists that they are lazy, irresponsible people who dont want to go out and get a real job. This is definitely a stigma placed on Sonny by not only society, but his brother as well. Sonnys Blues is a piece that teaches us to celebrate those who want to live creatively, and to recognize their impressiveness in our so ciety. Lastly, as with most of Baldwins pieces, we are forced to look at the theme of racial discrimination.In A Stranger in the Village, Baldwin speaks of rage. He says, Rage can only with difficulty, and never entirely, be brought beneath the domination of the intelligence and is therefore not susceptible to any arguments whatever. (pg. 1708) he says that the rage and resentment the black man has for the white man is something that can never completely go away, and that there are two shipway to deal with it. either rob the white man of the jewel of his naivete, or else to make it cost him dear. (pg. 1708) In Chartres, Baldwin is approached by children who want to see if the wile on his skin forget rub off.When they realize it doesnt, they are fascinated by this person who is so different than them. At the very kindred time, in America, it is a well-known fact that the color of your skin will not rub off and that it will dictate every part of your life. In certain states it will tell you where you can eat, where you sit, who you can secure from, and where you can go to school. In Sonnys Blues, the suffering that the narrator finally sees his brother going through as a essay musician and addict, can be mirrored to the suffering of black people in America.He reads of Sonnys arrest in the tubing where Baldwin writes I stared at it (the article of Sonnys arrest) in the swinging lights of the subway car, and in the establishments and bodies of the people, and in my own face, trapped in the duskiness which roared extracurricular. (1728) This can be read literally, as it is very dark outside a running subway car, but also metaphorically, seeing the phantasm which roared outside as the darkness and suffering black people would face on a daily basis, struggling to get through life in a white dominated society.In conclusion, Baldwin writes about real life experiences as well as fictional experiences that come to the akin conclusions. His writings hold a mirror up to the society in which he lived in and gave insight to the troubles, and also the triumphs of the human race. He exposed 1950s America for what it really was, and showed us 1950s Europe, which had a very different opinion on people such as himself. He gives us perspective on the life he lead and the lives led be those surrounding him, ultimately giving us a greater understanding of our own history, white or black.