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Write a letter to James Baldwin telling him what you think of the power of his writing. (In regards to “Going to Meet the Man”)

To Mr. James Baldwin.

Having recently read your short story “Going to Meet the Man” I must admit that it took me aback. I had to take a few moments to reflect upon the story, especially the final, gruesome flashback. The vivid nature of your writing evoked a range of emotions within me, with jarring clarity.

The depth and accuracy of the character of Jesse struck out to me also. The way in which you captured his voice, mannerisms and attitudes was truly masterful. Perhaps the most shocking aspect of this story is that Jesse as a character is no parody, he is no exaggerated character, purposefully created to amplify an issue. No, he is, sadly, an accurate depiction, an embodiment of the same racist sentiment that he himself spews forth, in disgusting ignorance.

As I have said previously, it is the final scene, the lynching, that has stuck with me, and was a major cause for reflection, upon completing the short story. Even now, reading through it again, I am filled with a sense of dread. The rapid nature of the scene; the pace as each new detail hits the reader square in the face, is almost terrifying. It is as though as a reader, if not subconsciously, there is a desire for this latest terror to be the last, or this shocking element to be the final one, but this is not the case. The way in which this terrible scene flows into the final shocking act of the story, affords the reader no reprieve, and is perhaps why it is so jarring, as there is no point within the story, at which the reader can digest the atrocities that they have just read.

“Going to Meet the Man” is truly insightful, and the power of not only its message, but also your writing cannot be overstated.

-Cameron  

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1 Comment

  1. Hi Cameron!
    To begin with, I am totally impressed by your blog, Cameron! Your blog, which was your letter to James Baldwin, reflected your understanding towards his sense in “Going to meet the Man”. I agree with your perspective that “Going to meet the Man” is truly insightful, but my interpretation over it might be different from yours. However, it is one of a best blogs that I have ever read because from that, I could see your deep understanding in Baldwin’s article. And I am appreciate that!
    I look forward to reading your future blogs, Cameron! You are the best!
    William Trinh.

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