James Baldwin: Creating Vs. Inventing Oneself

Date

2024

Authors

Franklin, Seven

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Worldwide access

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Abstract

What does it mean to transcend racial identity? This thesis explores James Baldwin’s answer to such a question by examining three topics: the black American’s relationship to the Western tradition, the legitimacy of protest literature, and the role of artists in society. I argue that Baldwin did not want to be confined to and limited by race. I show his drive to go beyond identities, to get at the root of things, and to reveal greater truths about what it means to be human. This thesis captures Baldwin’s desire to understand the complexities of life and death, pain and sorrow, love and hate, and to live by the Western Mantra “know thyself."

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Keywords

An analysis of James Baldwin’s early works concerning self-examination and race.

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