Sonny’s Blues Study Guide from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes
Terry Gross interviews James Baldwin on "Fresh Air," December 1, " Writing with both strength and delicacy, [Baldwin] has made the essay into a form that brings together vivid "Going to Meet the Man" () . Quick News | Page One Plus | International | National/N.Y. | Business | Technology. In “Going to Meet the Man,” the reader is presented with one of the most horrific, Through this amazing example of storytelling, Baldwin manages to climb inside Big Jim C barked out the orders and Jesse carried them out. .. America Dream Analysis Antimatter Asteroid Astronomy behavior behavioral. Going To Meet The Man By James Baldwin. J ames Baldwin's collection of short stories invites little new comment because it contains little new work. Of eight.
L’‘Interdit’ or the ‘Other’ text in James Baldwin’s “Going To Meet the Man”
As James Mellard puts it: In other words, in the unconscious, meaning is not fixed but moving or sliding as signifiers are not defined by their direct link to a signified but by a negative relation to the other signifiers. A signifier X is what it is only because it is not signifier Y. Thus, according to Lacan, the unconscious is composed of a signifying chain that is constantly sliding: Here, now, I can play on the ambiguity of the term: To illustrate my postulate, I have chosen to deal with a short-story by James Baldwin published in in the only collection of short-stories ever published by the author.
Nevertheless, this discourse, albeit conscious, harbours some aspects of the unconscious In the short-story by James Baldwin, the conscious discourse is exemplary of this as the plot is acted out on a psychological level. Jesse, a deputy sheriff in a southern town of the United States, is in bed with his wife Grace to whom he is functionally unable to make love.
Thus, the conscious discourse resembles an anamnesis and mixes present elements and past events to progressively get back to the source of the conflict. Desire, as Lacan says, is a metonymy in that it always misses its actual object.
L’‘Interdit’ or the ‘Other’ text in James Baldwin’s “Going To Meet the Man”
Desire is the desire of the Other Ecrits IImy translation. As Claudia Tate writes: Two dogs far away, were barking at each other, back and forth He heard a car coming north on the road The lights hit the shutters And it is precisely when he wishes to make the singing stop, in other words to make them shut their mouths that the singing becomes the song: The car lights picked up their wooden house So, what is keeping Jesse awake now is exactly what kept him awake that night: He wanted to call his mother, but he knew his father would not like this.
He was terribly afraid. Then their bed began to rock. What stands at the very centre of this clearing is the black body about to be lynched. This jouissance of the other, which is just presumed, is the cause of a hatred which is the essence of racism: This is represented through the association of the primal scene and the lynching.
The jouissance of the textual unconscious. Obviously, the whole scenario is played at both an unconscious and symbolic level. Therefore all psychological conflicts revolve around the economy of Desire and the Law. The problem seems to lie in the fact that he is but a deputy sheriff, this signifier containing an idea of incompleteness which grows unbearable to Jesse.
By letting out one or several signifiers that can refer to different signifieds, the unconscious finds a way to circumvent repression. First of all, as I postulate that a writer lacks total control over the text s he is producing, some signifiers, which appear as rather disconnected with the rest of the conscious discourse — diegesis —, may be regarded as originated by some other agency.
Over and over, Jesse sent intense jolts of electricity through the young man until he had passed out from shock. As the encounter with the young man went into an interlude, Jesse began to tremble as an intense and peculiar joy washed over him. Something deep from within his memory was resurfacing, but the overall detail of the scene eluded him. Baldwin uses this particular encounter to show the utter elation that a person can experience when an event occurs that is strangely related to a past pleasurable experience.
Upon first encountering the grotesque depiction of the scene, the reader is completely overwhelmed by a feeling of intense disgust. While finding beauty on the surface of this story might be a difficult task, the reader can certainly appreciate the lengths to which Baldwin went in order to show how any person in any situation can become the victim of twisted family values and societal expectations.
This story is a stretch into the fantastic as Baldwin exaggerated the particular scene within the story. It is likely that he combined many elements of particularly gruesome, unlawful attacks on black people during the civil rights era and the period of history prior to this.
However, this hyperbolic writing is most certainly effective as the experience of the reader goes beyond mere words on a page. The reader actually sees what a young Jesse saw and feels what Jesse felt on that fateful day that forever changed his life and perception. Jesse had not always been the bigot that he was standing in the cell with that broken and bleeding black man. There was a time when Jesse was just a boy and the other boys his age, regardless of color, were just boys.
His name was Otis. Here, Baldwin highlights the simple fact that Otis and Jesse were friends. Regardless of race, creed, or religion, they were just boys who liked to play together. However, in the very next line, the reader begins to see the first signs of the transformation of young Jesse.
There was something afoot. Jesse did not quite understand the details of what was happening, but he was sharp enough to understand that an event had happened that had somehow driven the racist wedge deeper, further dividing the perilous crevice between black and white.
Jesse also knew something was about to happen. A rash action was about to take place in the light this new development within the atmosphere of the racial strife that permeated the air of the town in which Jesse lived and he knew it.
In his innocence, Jesse questioned his father regarding the recent scarcity of his friend.
He did not know why he said this. His voice, in the darkness of the car, sounded small and accusing. But he was only concerned about this morning. Upon waking the next day, Jesse is confronted by a group of people in his front yard dressed as if they were about to head to Sunday service. Are we going on a picnic? It is evident from the story and the historical period in which the story takes place that Jesse had grown up in an extremely racist society.
Bygone Innocence: A Reflection on “Going to Meet the Man” | Edumacation
It can be assumed that he experienced elements of racism and prejudice on a daily basis from the attitude that his father expresses toward the black race as a whole throughout the story. Startlingly, however, Jesse is presented in the light of childish innocence prior to the event at the Harkness.
Jesse was just another boy, understanding the basic expectation that society held him to as a member of the white race, but eschewing this expectation for childish games and camaraderie with anyone regardless of race, religion, or any other divisive factor.
Jesse just wanted to play and enjoy life. His carefree world was about to change forever.
The car ride seemed to stretch on and on. The car finally stopped. Jesse stepped out of the vehicle to see a mob standing before a spectacle that had them cheering and had raised the level of excitement to an almost tangible level. The tingle in the air was almost too much for Jesse to bear. The first aspect that Jesse noticed about the scene unfolding in front of him was the gleaming chain. Baldwin now uses extremely strong language to describe both the scene unfolding before young Jesse and the personal awareness of a boy about to be forever changed by one animalistic act against another human being by a bigoted mob.
The most intriguing aspect of this scene is not the inhuman act carried out against the captured man. While the crime committed against the man is certainly the most disturbing aspect of this scene, the act itself is not the point.