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Rage In Baldwin's Stranger In The Village

628 words - 3 pages

Rage in Baldwin's Stranger in the Village

The rage of the disesteemed is personally fruitless, but it is also absolutely inevitable; this rage, so generally discounted, so little understood even among the people whose daily bread it is, is one of the things that makes history.
-- James Baldwin, ?Stranger in the Village? (130)

In his essay 'Stranger in the Village' (1955), many of James Baldwin?s innermost feelings are exposed to the reader. One of the emotions I believe Baldwin feels most strongly is rage. He is angry at the fact that only whites are looked upon as humans, while the black man is looked upon as chattel. Baldwin mentions the word 'rage' several times in his essay and discusses the reasons why he is filled with such anger towards white people.

James Baldwin left Harlem and fled to Paris in 1948 to escape uneasy relations including difficulty with his stepfather, financial distress, and problems discovering his sexual identity (Roberts). He escapes to the ?Swiss village? to advance his writing career and, furthermore, find himself as a person. However, Baldwin discovers that being black in an all white community, even in Switzerland, doesn?t make it any easier for him to write and escape his problems in America. The past brings out strong emotions in Baldwin leading him to express his feelings by writing.

In paragraph 10, Baldwin describes the feeling of rage explicitly. He explains that ?rage? is unavoidable and that one cannot ignore it. The rage of people caught in situations, as Baldwin puts it in the epigraph that frames this essay, causes ?rage? on an everyday basis but still cannot be fully comprehended. The rage of the American Negro can only partially be rationalized by the white people with complications...

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