James Baldwin Essays

College

Sonny's Blues

Humans are made of the tangible; flesh and blood, muscles and bones, cells and nerves. The survival of man can be dissected into the purely scientific, the emotionless, the artless. The value of the anatomical can clearly not be understated, as...

Sonny's Blues

Music is a powerful language which speaks to us, moves us, and fills us with emotion. In Sonny's Blues, the voice of Jazz mediates the relationship between two brothers. As the older brother's appreciation of music grows, he understands better the...

Sonny's Blues

James Baldwin provides several constructions of black masculinity through his two texts Everybody's Protest Novel and Sonny's Blues. Since this essay is comparing works from the same author, it is essential to look at what these constructions are...

Sonny's Blues

In James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues," the abundance of darkness reveals the beauty of light. Despite how uncomfortable and painful it is to be in the dark, the main character, Sonny empowers himself by stepping into the light and incorporating his...

Sonny's Blues

James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” is a tale of suffering. Placed in an environment that is “encircled by disaster” (Baldwin 1615), the narrator constantly attempts to escape from the suffering around him. He avoids all contact with those around him...

College

Giovanni's Room

In James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room, the protagonist David grapples with his homosexuality, a part of him that he continually denies, and subsequently fails to repress. As David deals with his identity, he looks for and finds himself, his literal...

College

Giovanni's Room

In James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room, David is a heterosexual man with homosexual desires. This desire to be with men leads him desensitized to how he actually feels when he is with all four of his lovers - male and female. Each and every...

11th Grade

Go Tell it On the Mountain

In Go Tell It On the Mountain, James Baldwin discusses the power that can be found in secularity and in religion. The novel starts with John Grimes waking up to his fourteenth birthday in Harlem, 1935. The entire novel spans a few days, but as the...

College

The Fire Next Time

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free” - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

The history of the United States from the eyes of the "American Negro," to use the now-dated literary term, is both bleak and cruel. A...