Baldwin's My Dungeon Shook: A Letter To My Nephew

1110 words - 4 pages

Baldwin's My Dungeon Shook: A Letter to my Nephew

Does the American Dream belong to every one or does it exclude some individuals? The American Dream is a very powerful force that molds America. It has existed for many generations but has it changed over time? The foundation of the Dream tends to stay the same that is the pursuit of happiness, hope, freedom, justice and equality. The concepts within the American Dream should alter to fit the changes of society. The breakthroughs and obstacles that America overcomes should shift the American Dream. Society may see the American Dream as a dangerous power causing them to be scared to challenge the concepts of the traditional American Dream. Will society become dysfunctional if someone challenges the American Dream or will it make our country stronger and more diverse?
According to James Baldwin’s “My Dungeon Shook: A Letter to My Nephew” African Americans cannot obtain their piece of the American Dream. Baldwin wrote a letter to his nephew in hope of guiding him through life. Baldwin had many words of wisdom to share, mostly words provoked by pain and anger. Baldwin wanted to teach his nephew about the cruelty of society. His main point was to teach his nephew not to believe the white man and his words. He wanted to encourage his nephew to succeed in life but not to expect the unassailable. By believing the white man one can not succeed but by knowing where one comes from will lead to success was the foundation of Baldwin’s message (243-246).
When reading “My Dungeon Shook: A Letter to my Nephew”, it was clear that Baldwin was not just writing a letter to his nephew but to society by interacting personal thoughts with public awareness.

Although Baldwin’s letter was addressed to his nephew, he intended for society as a whole to be affected by it. “This innocent country set you down in a getto in which, in fact, it intended that you should parish”(Baldwin 244). This is an innocent country, innocent only because they know not what they do. They discriminate the African American by expecting them to be worthless, by not giving them a chance to prove their credibility. Today African Americans are considered to be disesteemed in society. They are placed in this class before they are even born just like Royalty obtains their class before they are even conceived. We may think that this is a paradox but when deeply thinking about African Americans and their treatment we know it is much different than that of white Americans. African Americans have to strive extremely hard to be successful and obtain a place in America. When reading Baldwin’s statement it seems much like Martin Luther King Jr. statement: “One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land”(3). African Americans are trying to obtain their place in American society but are restricted to the area that the white Americans set aside for them. Both Martin...

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