Black People and James Baldwin

Last Updated: 28 May 2020
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Deborah Lee Period 1 May 28,2012 Supplemental Reading Assignment A. The theme of Baldwin’s essay is equality. He establishes this theme in his essay with the juxtaposition of a poor white man and a black man. In this essay, Baldwin speaks of how “People are continually pointing out to me the wretchedness of white people in order to console me for the wretchedness of blacks. He says that people say that being black is not that bad because there are white people in the same situation and that there is still hope for the black because of people like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis but it is still not something “to be regarded with complacency” because the situations of Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis are just rare. Equality in America at the time was possible with “determined will,” but still very rare. Another way James Baldwin established the theme of equality in this essay was when he mentioned the projects, more specifically, Riverton.

Baldwin establishes this theme of equality through mentioning Riverton for Riverton was a physical representation of the inequality of blacks and whites in America back then. Baldwin said, “The people in Harlem know they are living there because white people do not think they are good enough to live anywhere else. ” There was going to be no equality if people were told to live in certain places because of their color. Baldwin also makes this theme extremely clear when he says, “Negroes want to be treated like men. ” B.

The tone of the essay, Fifth Avenue, Uptown: A letter from Harlem by James Baldwin and the tone of the poem, Theme for English B by Langston Hughes are similar. They are similar for both authors show that there is hope for equality through the tone of each text. In the poem, Theme for English B, Hughes says “You are white -- / yet a part of me, as I am a part of you. / That’s American. ” Hughes expresses that although he may be the only black person in his class, he is still American like the rest of the class and should be considered equal.

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The tone of the essay and poem is different from the poem Incident by Countee Collen. This poem’s tone is complete opposite from the other poem and essay for Collen uses more of a doubtful tone. This poem is more about just being sad and bothered that blacks and whites are not equal instead of being hopeful for the equality of the two races that is soon to come like the other poem and essay. C. The perspectives on race in these texts are different than in To Kill a Mockingbird for in To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus believes that there is good and bad in everyone and that nobody should be hated or claimed as all bad.

In the book, Scout asks Atticus if it is okay to hate Hitler but Atticus says that you shouldn’t hate anybody, no matter how bad they are because there is a good side to them. This shows that Atticus’ perspective on race is different from the authors of the poems and essay for the authors believe that the whites are bad people because blacks and whites are not equal. While Atticus is just like the authors for he wants equality between black and whites, his perspective is different for he believes that this equality will be brought once the good side comes out of the white people.

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Black People and James Baldwin. (2017, Jan 03). Retrieved from

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