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The Life and Works of James Baldwin - Essay Example

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Summary
James Baldwin was born in Harlem, New York on the 24th day of August 1924. Emma Jones, James’ mother, raised her children alone through her meager income as a domestic worker. …
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The Life and Works of James Baldwin

Download file to see previous pages... James, who was exposed to the religiosity of his stepfather, learned the significance of faith and religion in his life. Although David was not a caring stepfather, his religiosity influenced James and his brothers in a way that David had instilled Catholic morals on the family. For one, James became a youth minister in a Pentecostal Church in Harlem even at the age of 14. With his conformity to religious standards and intellectual pursuits, James gained recognition and lasting impression from his teachers, as well as his neighbors. To the people in their locality, James was considered as intelligent and righteous. He carried these values along with him as he struggled for the Negro race through participating in political and social activities as a writer.
The deep religious foundations of Baldwin’s morality were later shown in his writings, as well as his preference for non-violent activism over bloody riots. As a child, James loved to read, and, during his school years, he showed an inclination toward writing. Although James showed his exemplary writing ability even in high school, he was not able to pursue his college education and other plans due to financial constraints. As the eldest child, James had to put his dreams aside and support his mother in sending his seven younger brothers to school. Thus, in his own discretion, James struggled to find a job after he graduated in high school in 1942. While putting his dreams aside means compromising his passion and talent, James considered his family as the most important part of his life. Finding a sustainable job was difficult for James. The fact that the year during which he lived was dominated by prejudice and racial discrimination, James was frequently warded off by employers mainly because of his color. This situation made him take whatever job opportunities that came along his way. For instance, he took the job in the railroad in New Jersey from which he was again dismissed for no apparent reason. Another significant event in James’ life was the death of his stepfather on the 29th of July 1943. On this day, also, her mother gave birth to his eighth sibling. This means that their family had grown larger, which, in turn, means that he needed to earn more for his family. In 1945, James’ life took an unexpected turn. Although, he worked during the day, he still found time to write a novel during his spare hours. His passion to read and write offered opportunities that influenced the rest of his life. For instance, he had the chance to meet Richard Wright, a writer, who helped James found a fellowship that could publish his works and support his writing expenses. In those times also, James was able to publish his stories and essays with Commentary, The Nation, and Partisan Review, three of the most popular national publications during that time. As James was able to gain an audience for his literary works, his popularity also grew, and he was able to visit different American cities with his writing colleagues. By the year 1948, James moved to Paris as he was able to find another fellowship there. James’ stay in Paris enabled him to observe America in a distance; he was able to analyze the American social and political situation critically especially in relation to the African Americans, his race. Considering the wide view by which James observed the socio-political status of America, he was able to evaluate the American system of government objectively. Additionally, he was able to see clearly where he began, which developed in him the sense of determined destination. Thus, James’ stay in France enabled him to see both his beginning and his purposive end. While in France, James was able t ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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