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Going to meet the Man

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Going to meet the Man.pdf | Language: UNKNOWN
    James Baldwin(Author)

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4.5 (10574)
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Book details

  • PDF | Unknown pages
  • James Baldwin(Author)
  • Dell; First PB Edition, First Printing edition (1966)
  • Unknown
  • 7
  • Literature & Fiction

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Review Text

  • By JWC PsyD on April 18, 2015

    This book does not have one plot per se, as it is a collection of short stories. However, there is a through-line in that all the narratives have to do with the same thing. Mr. Baldwin's stories all relate, directly or indirectly, to the lived experiences of Blacks living in New York City during the 1950's and 60's. Each builds and expands on the themes of the previous story as the reader goes along. To say that the stories are about racism is a gross oversimplification. In many ways they are allegories about American ideals gone awry in the face of a system that ultimately diminishes all its citizens by devaluing the humanity of the race of some of it citizens. The stories include: The Rockpile, The Outing, The Man Child, Previous Condition, Sonny's Blues, This Morning, This Evening, So Soon, Come Out the Wilderness, and Going to meet the Man.The first stories, The Rockpile and the Outing, speak of faith and family, incorporated elements of African American identity playing out against the backdrop of mid-century Harlem. A young boy learns resentment at the feet of a step-father and the early seeds of manhood on the shoulder of a close friend. The White characters that inhabit Man Child speak of an underlying bitterness and resentment that fuel grotesque acts. This story strikes this reader as being an allegory about mainstream America in the midst of war, pilfering the lives of her sons, overseas and at home, over battles of entitlement. Previous Condition chronicles the life of the young creative intellectual struggling for identity in a society of well-meaning While liberalism and Black misapprehension. Sonny's Blues plays the mournful song of hopelessness and helplessness of a young Black man, accompanied by the sorrowful strains of his struggle with addiction in the Harlem mid-century jazz scene. This Morning, This evening, So soon, powerfully presents the slow, impotent rage of a Black father who must sacrifice the innocence of his son at the altar of racism. Come Out the Wilderness' protagonist struggles with self-worth and identity. Going to Meet the Man, subversively portrays a man trapped by the guilt of a southern tradition, taking his family out for a picnic.Fifty years hence, in the location and settings of these stories, America has changed. The author James Baldwin, who died in 1987, did not live to see the ascent of Colin Powell, Robert L. Johnson, Condoleezza Rice or Barack Obama; evidence that almost certainly things have changed for the better, for many of us. But in many ways it remains distressingly and disturbingly the same. A system that villifies the Black poor for their poverty, and personifies young Black males as violent criminals, continues to perpetuate the kind of psychic pain and anger that permeated much of Baldwin's work. Going to Meet the Man should be required reading, if for no other reason than to remind us of what we must continually strive to change.

  • By rvialet on June 3, 2014

    I was slightly disappointed with the first novel I read by the late great James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room. Although I found it difficult to empathize with the main character (who I found to be a little whiny and spoiled), I was really taken by how beautiful Baldwin's writing was. It was enough to keep me interested in reading more of his work and I'm glad I chose this book as the next one. This solid collection of 8 short stories is a great primer to his writing style and the themes that permeate most of his work, such as race, identity, sex, life in Harlem, and the influence of art, religion, and family.Baldwin's writing is consistently sincere, although some stories kept my attention more than others. There are two stories that are the big standouts in this collection. The soulful "Sonny's Blues" is about a man struggling to understand and reconnect with his estranged, heroin-addicted, musician brother, and also happens to be a look at the liberating power of the blues. The following quote is one the best descriptions of what great music, especially "the blues" is supposed to do, and what it means to be a musician:"He and his boys up there were keeping it new, at the risk of ruin, destruction, madness, and death, in order to find new ways to make us listen. For, while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn't any other tale to tell, it's the only light we've got in all this darkness."The title story, "Going to Meet the Man", floored me and haunted me, and might be one of my favorite short stories. It actually kept me up at night thinking about it afterward. It's a story written with pitch-perfect confidence by Baldwin, about a middle-aged, racist, deputy sheriff of a Southern town in the U.S. recalling the event in his childhood that might have made him the bigot he is. The story challenges you to see how an innocent 8-year-old boy, who's best friend is black, can somehow turn into something else. It also explores the uncomfortable relationship between prejudice and sexuality, and how one can profoundly affect the other. A great piece.

  • By lp caplin on April 28, 2017

    major writer!

  • By Guest on March 11, 2018

    James Baldwin skillfully handles tense and point of view. His insights into human nature are forged in a racist crucible. All that is dross has been burned away, leaving pure literary gold. He was (and is) a national treasure.

  • By Faye Belle on June 13, 2016

    I loved this book and I greatly admire the author, James Baldwin. Been a long-time fan, in fact. I recommend it to all teens and adults who find it both interesting and enlightning to read fiction and non-fiction relating to social issues in America.

  • By Enrique G. Cubillo on December 27, 2017

    Feel the entirety of being human. Feel the shoes of the other.

  • By Nathan Thomas on November 2, 2013

    In many ways I see exactly where he is coming from and the end result of his struggles. It is sad that he could not enjoy life as a person of color or as a person who's sexual preference was different.

  • By Lester L. Carter on January 16, 2008

    James Baldwin is a tortured soul. He pours his whole soul onto every page. This makes him one of America's greatest writers. His word pictures take you into the church, on a picnic, into a country farm house and into the lives of all his characters. Long Live James Baldwin. In our hearts.


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