if beale street could talk essay

Though Jaime’s name could be perceived as feminine or masculine, his violent actions can be viewed as a way for him to prove his masculinity by expressing it appropriately, or as any white American male would. The land for Eric’s relatives is something they have the opportunity to own because their space is neither limiting nor suppressing. (p65). If Beale Street Could Talk and “The Man Child” both play a vital role in Baldwin’s narratives surrounding gender, sexuality, gender expression, and race. If Beale Street Could Talk: a Novel. Tish demonstrates paradox when explaining Mrs. Hunt and Fonny's sisters' opinion of her: "In one way, I realized later, they didn't think that I was good enough for Fonny—which really means that they didn't think I was good enough for them—and in another way, they felt that I was maybe just exactly what Fonny deserved" (18). If Beale Street Could Talk essays are academic essays for citation. You didn’t do anything wrong. • The Italian lady said so, and she said that she would swear to it,” to which he responds, “That’s why he’s going to try to get me” (143). She notes that "Tish tells of love and loss in, for the most part, simple, straightforward language. If you are on a personal connection, like at home, you can run an anti-virus scan on your device to make sure it is not infected with malware. Alexander gives readers a different perspective on Fonny’s imprisonment by revealing that his imprisonment is part of a bigger societal injustice that exists to keep African Americans in a racial caste. Tish and Fonny’s fathers represent two sides of the same coin. If it was deeper than fear, it was not yet joy. As Baldwin writes, “Eric rode his father’s shoulders through the wide green fields which belonged to him, into the yard which held the house which would hear the first cries of his children” (“The Man Child,” 74). Mosher also relates what it means to have a blues voice: "To communicate through the blues, one must be honest and one must also have suffered deeply." When facing overwhelming pressure, Frank submits to the justice system: “It’s over. When If Beale Street Could Talk was published, it held a place on the best-seller list for seven weeks. The United States imprisons a larger percentage of its black population than South Africa did at the height of apartheid” (6). This hell, thus, becomes a wasteland for black bodies, and this wasteland is inescapable. According to Marlene Mosher in "James Baldwin's Blues," Tish's voice communicates the spirit of the blues, which is characterized by "surviving despite tremendous odds." Tish alludes to Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" when explaining how her community responded to her relationship with Fonny: "At school, and all up and down the block, they called us Romeo and Juliet, though this was not because they'd read the play" (18). These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin.

The lion’s den for Baldwin is New York and subsequently America, and the metaphorical lions are attacking Daniel, who is a vivid representation of the struggles of black masculine identity. GradeSaver, Read the Study Guide for If Beale Street Could Talk…, Baldwin's Fiction: Liminal Agency and the Condition of Blackness, What Alexander's "The New Jim Crow" Adds to “If Beale Street Could Talk”, View Wikipedia Entries for If Beale Street Could Talk…. The fact that Daniel and Fonny's stories are so similar underscores the pervasiveness of this fate for men in the black community, even when they have different life paths and come from different backgrounds. July 3, 2019 by Essay Writer. And a man’s got a right to do as he likes with whatever’s his” (“The Man Child,” 64). As Baldwin expresses though both narratives, those who are able to exist comfortably within the confines of American ideology experience a life that is less constricted by oppressive forces. The reader understands that Fonny was imprisoned was because of his skin color, but Alexander explains that the justice system purposefully discriminates in order to preserve the “racial caste in America.” Alexander asserts that people who are imprisoned are denied American rights, like the right to vote, educational opportunity, and jury service. Daniel’s name relates him to the character of Daniel in the bible.

Prison, according to this text, is an institution designed to oppress black men and stop them from existing in the very hellish conditions that white men have designed in the outside world. Harlem, a historically Black neighborhood, offers safety to the Rivers and Hunt families in a way that Downtown Manhattan does not. One of the major conflicts of the novel is Mrs. Hunt and the sisters versus the Rivers family.

The plot of Baldwin’s novel revolves around the unjust imprisonment of Fonny and, in doing so, highlights the corruption in the justice system. In this part of the book, the sections get shorter and the sentences become more clipped. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin. We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. It also demonstrates that Fonny was singled out for the crime because of his black skin, as Tish claims the only reason he was chosen was because “it can’t be none of the others.” The narrative Baldwin devises of Fonny’s imprisonment illustrates racial injustice in the system, as Fonny was singled out for a crime he did not commit simply because of his skin color and his love for Tish. I was not afraid. Your IP: On a large scale, Daniel's story, in which he is falsely accused of carjacking, foreshadows Fonny's own arrest. It is through this same theory that Daniel’s story becomes a tragic story of marginalization in ideology. She is nineteen, and she serves as a deeply empathetic and perceptive narrator. And ain’t nothing we can do about it” (Beale Street, 188).

Because of Fonny’s innocence, Baldwin explains the character’s imprisonment through the racial corruption in the justice system. Characters who are arguably liberated within the texts, such as Joe and Frank, struggle throughout the narrative to raise, and subsequently steal, enough money to pay for Fonny’s bond.

I could not take my eyes away from his. The fact that Daniel is presented as “feminine” because he openly cries, because he’s metaphorically owned by the state, and because he was raped in prison all allow Baldwin to show that, despite the similarities between Daniel and Jaime, Daniel’s mis-identification with masculinity causes him to experience violence and imprisonment while Jaime is merely forced to take agency.

This act directly causes Fonny to end up in prison, as his target of retaliation is an individual who is allowed to exist within the confines of white American masculinity. This is evidenced by the scene in which Tish and Fonny have sex for the first time. And, come to think of it, that’s exactly the smell of New York in the summertime” (Beale Street, 9). Urbana: U of Illinois, Michelle Alexander’s introduction to “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” helps readers understand the larger context of the theme of imprisonment in James Baldwin’s “If Beale Street Could Talk.” Baldwin’s novel illustrates the racial bias in the justice system through the imprisonment of Fonny.

Alexander explains that America not only imprisons the most “racial or ethnic minorities,” but has more prisoners than South Africa did during their apartheid.

Early on in If Beale Street Could Talk, Tish expresses the constrictive nature of the corridors both in prison and in the church. Eric’s inherited land thus becomes a physical representation of an American idealism which breeds hope as well as of agriculture: both are key values in American philosophy. Throughout the novel, Tish's tone is lamenting and yet hopeful. She allows all of her characters, even characters she disagrees with or abhors, like Mrs. Rogers and Officer Bell, room to speak. If Beale Street Could Talk essays are academic essays for citation. so that it is harder for them to find justice. Alexander claims that sending African Americans to jail denies them rights that they were denied at the “height of Jim Crow.” Additionally, Baldwin’s book only really highlights one character’s imprisonment, Fonny’s, and thus doesn’t give the reader an idea of how far out these injustices reach. Daniel explains, “I don’t believe there’s a white man in this country, baby, who can even get his dick hard, without he hear some nigger moan” (Beale Street, 108). If Beale Street Could Talk essays are academic essays for citation.

Baldwin, James. The naming of these two characters, Daniel and Jaime, highlights their significance both in and outside of the text. As is typical through American inheritance practices, Eric, the first born male, will gain the land after his father dies. She is able to hold these opposing feelings in her head with no trouble at all. Completing the CAPTCHA proves you are a human and gives you temporary access to the web property.

The rape that Daniel experience in prison as well as the rape he witnessed both show the penetrative force of white ideology. And they ain’t ready yet. Considering the naming of both these characters is vital when attempting to understand their roles as foil characters and as combatants against American ideological systems, especially in regards to masculinity. This dream is evidence of the heightened emotion at this part of the book, an emotion that threatens to pull Tish under. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again. The contrasting nature of these two texts and how space is perceived in them demonstrates how Baldwin proclaims that the differences between black and white families cause black families to experience hell on earth while white families experience power through ownership. Baldwin, James. This is the colloquial name for the Manhattan Detention Complex jail in Lower Manhattan. Jezebel was married to Ahab, the king of Israel, but was despised by the nation of Israel and the Prophet Elijah for worshipping idols. As a narrator, Tish uses parallelism to compare Daniel's struggle with the law to Fonny's struggle.

They got him. Tish uses metonymy when she refers to the jail Fonny is housed in as "the Tombs." As a criminal, you have scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a black man living in Alabama at the height of Jim Crow. Before the reader knows what Fonny was accused of, Tish alludes to this racial injustice, explaining, “That same passion which saved Fonny got him into trouble, and put him in jail. Baldwin’s adherence to certain theological beliefs is important for understanding the themes that characters represent, especially in regards to how Baldwin intermixes morality and secular ideology.

The climax of the novel occurs in the middle after Tish visits Fonny and he is upset about Mrs. Rogers leaving the United States. Alexander does this for us, explaining, “The racial dimension of mass incarceration is its most striking feature. At the "summit meeting" in the Rivers' home, the Rivers and Hunts (minus Frank) get into a fight and they end on bad terms with each other. And that’s a crime, in this fucking free country. I could not move. James Baldwin is a mastermind at exposing the turmoil behind the ideal of American masculinity. Not affiliated with Harvard College. Baldwin's Fiction: Liminal Agency and the Condition of Blackness; What Alexander's "The New Jim Crow" Adds to “If Beale Street Could Talk” Where, exactly, does Hayward tell Sharon Mrs. Rogers can be located, and whose name does he give Sharon to help her identify Mrs. Rogers? If Beale Street Could Talk appeals to young adult readers because the two figures at the center of the novel’s conflict are themselves young adults.

In If Beale Street Could Talk the child represents hope, which is something that is vital and necessary to black lives. Despite Baldwin’s tendency to write from male perspectives, he does not shy away from exploring the roles of women in his works.


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