Maaz's Blogs: Critical Analysis (Short Story) Going to meet the man by James Baldwin
"Going to Meet the Man" is a short story by James Baldwin, taken from the short story collection, Going to Meet the Man. Plot summary. After the death of his Father, Baldwin moved to Greenwich Village to devote himself to writing a novel. There, he befriended writer Richard. The Going to Meet the Man Community Note includes chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis, character list, theme list, historical context, author biography.
Regardless of what he tells himself, he cannot calm down, or escape the confusing feeling of arousal and ache that keeps intruding his body without release.
“Going to Meet the Man”. The emasculation of Jesse: An analysis () – Correctomundo
Now everything seems strange and unfamiliar. He is unconsciously reminded of the night after the lynching so many years ago; the dogs barking, the lights through the shutters, the sound of car tires on the gravel road Baldwin The emasculation of Jesse The senseless violence he inflicts upon the young man in jail borderlines that of a sexual nature; the cattle prod to the testicles, his own surprising erection.
The young black man works as a threat to this position, refusing to be put back in place, and Jesse acts on vile desperation. Everything is upside down: What originally was inferior will submit no more, and it becomes a menace, to the town and to him.
But it is an ambiguous comparison. The perseverance of the young man kind of impresses him: The recollection of the black body is both that of dread and admiration. The description of it is almost eroticized: The memories from childhood, albeit apparently repressed, are pivotal.
It describes the loss of innocence, a rite of passage. It suddenly seems so fragile, and the picture he has inflicted on the black man is turned on him, overpowering him, depriving him of his potency. It is like he is being symbolically castrated by the black protestors that no longer submit to his authority.
The stance on black people being primal and animalistic is part of a rhetoric Jesse is surrounded with. In the car on the way home, his father claims: After going to bed, the excitement Jesse had felt earlier now changed: He wants to call out for his mother, but he knows his father will not approve. We can only imagine the effect all the events of that day would have on an eight year old boy.
He had now learned the kind of justice his own people unscrupulously showed human beings of another color, and the perception of his own status was forever changed. Exposed to this sadistic event, his excitement turned to anxiety as he later lay in bed. Back in the cell, as the young, black man after regaining consciousness raises his head, and addresses him, specifically, as white man, Jesse automatically grabs his privates, as to assure himself they are still there.
Big Jim C barked out the orders and Jesse carried them out. Generally speaking, Jesse did not have too much of an issue keeping them in-line, but things had begun to get out of hand recently.
Jesse put the [cattle] prod to the young man.
Going to Meet the Man (short story)
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. The story also shows of physical assault faced by most of the Negros through white people.
They were badly beaten and brutally murdered for no reason. For example when Big C Jim beats few Negros for their singing. It also seemed like they had no value as most of them were treated like an object. Most of the black woman were sexually assaulted.
Moreover the author has also shown the affection of the narrator towards his father as a child. The Author has represented his stance on the culture of the white community as well.