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Giovannis Room Analysis

Baldwin portrays a different form of oppression in his novel entitled, Giovanni’s Sexual oppression is exemplified through individual homosexual white menwho are unable to find happiness or contentment in themselves or in everydayrelationships. In Baldwin’s “Everybody’s Protest Novel” he writes, “but ourhumanity is our burden, our life; we need not battle for it; we need only to do whatis infinitely more difficult-that is, accept it.” Giovanni’s Room is about eachindividual’s need to accept their own humanity and societies need to embrace theuniversal theme of suffering amongst humanity. Baldwin uses the main characterDavid to exemplify an individual’s struggle to accept himself, unfortunately his riteof passage is thwarted by his inability to accept his humanity in a world of sociallyascribed sexual categories.One of the main themes expressed in Giovanni’s Room is that of societiesloneliness. Baldwin portrays this universal suffering amongst all of his charactersand he uses this suffering as a means of motivation. Loneliness plagues each of thecharacters, regardless of whether or not they have accepted their humanity. Everyone from David’s father to Jacques to Hella is searching for a love or ameaningful connection in the world. At the beginning of the novel, when we arefirst introduced to the narrator, David, we learn about his friendship with Joey. This relationship provides David with his first sense of joy and contentment, yet hisfear of falling outside of societies sexual definitions overpower these feelings andleads him back into the arms of loneliness. The narrator reflects on his experienceand Baldwin writes, “the power and the promise and the mystery of that body mademe suddenly afraid. That body suddenly seemed the black opening of a cavern inwhich I would be tortured till madness came, in which I would lose my power andhave that promise ...

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