Books and Movies Reviews

James Baldwin’s Stranger in the Village

In paragraph three of James Baldwin’s ‘Stranger in the Village’ (1955), he alludes to emotions that are significant, dealing with conflicts that arise in the Swiss village. Of these emotions are two, astonishment and outrage, which represent the relevant feelings of Baldwin, an American black man. These two emotions, for Baldwin’s ancestors, create arguments about the ‘Negro’ and their rights to be considered ‘human beings’ (Baldwin 131). Baldwin, an American Negro, feels undeniable rage toward the village because of the misconception of his complexion, a misconception that denies Baldwin human credibility and allows him to be perceived as a ‘living wonder’ (129). 
Baldwin and his ancestors share this common rage because of the reflections their culture has had on the rest of society, a society consisting of white men who have thrived on using false impressions as a weapon throughout American history. Baldwin gives credit to the fact that no one can be held responsible for what history has unfolded, but he remains restless for an explanation about the perception of his ancestors as people. In Baldwin’s essay, his rage becomes more directed as the power of the white man becomes relevant to the misfortune of the American Negro (Baldwin 131). This misfortune creates a fire of rage within Baldwin and the American Negro. As Baldwin’s American Negro continues to build the fire, the white man builds an invisible wall around himself to avoid confrontation about the actions of hisforefathers? (Baldwin 131). Baldwin’s anger burns through his other emotions as he writes about the enslavement of his ancestors and gives the reader a shameful illusion of a Negro slave having to explain his or her situation to a curious child. Baldwin seems unforgiving when he speaks about the troubles that the white man has bestowed upon his race. There is no intelligence and no forgiveness behind the outrage of a slave’s ancestor, which is what Baldwin refuses …


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