Reading and Interpreting: Author Spotlight on James Baldwin
EN 251 - 8B: Writing About Literature
Brandon Chitwood, PhD
March 13, 2016
Reading “Race and the African American Writer” by James Baldwin was eye opening. I thouroghly enjoy reading about how others overcome struggles and obstacles. It is very impiring to me to see how they were able to face situations and become what they have become. I’m sure it wasn’t easing for Baldwin to be a writer in his time. I believe Baldwin was correct in wanting to writing about his own experiences because others may learn from them and others may feel inspired by them.
According to Baldwin ((Kennedy, 2007, p. 70)) he states “I was forced to recognize that I was a bastard of the West”. I believe he was referring to how he felt as an outsider. I enjoyed how he used buildings and architecture to relay his feelings. He would look at this gorgeous buildings and beautiful architecture but not really see himself in them. He soon had to realize by that he could only write and speak about what he knew. I believe Baldwin was using pathos in this section to help the readers feel his emotions. We have all felt this way in one way or another.
When one feels out of place it is very difficult to see a way out or a purpose for one’s life. Baldwin had those same struggles. He states “I have not written about being a Negro at such length because I expect that to be my only subject, but only because it was the gate I had to unlock before I could hope to write about anything else.” (Kennedy, 2007, p. 70) I believe he says this for the reader to realize the struggle it was for him to write about his own experiences. He felt as if he needed to do this to be taken seriously as a writer. This will inspire others, not only African Americans, to face their struggles head on. To find the way to be what they want to be and complete the task in front of them.