James Baldwin's Essay: Going To Meet The Man

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The short story going to meet the man by James Baldwin is a very intense look in to the recollections of a racist white sheriff that is on the brink of experiencing somewhat of race equality in his home town. Baldwin describes the thoughts that the main character, Jesse the sheriff, is trying to come to terms with while he lays in bed with his wife after experiencing an episode of impotence and insomnia. In this in depth account of the sheriff’s account, the readers is put in his mindset and can experience the true hatred that he has towards the black race and in doing so allows the readers to realize why he feels this way. Readers of going to meet the man are experience a set of flashbacks with the main character, one that occurred earlier that day and on that occurred many years ago when he was a young child.…show more content…
When the young Jesse realizes that it is not just a regular picnic and that he is attending a lynching of a black man, readers are able to feel his fear and curiosity. James Baldwin describes the smell of a fire burning and the scent of singed hair. The main point of the story seems to be that Jesse was not born a sadistic racist but in fact was raised that way, and this lynching is the most pivotal moment that he will ever experience in his life. Going to meet the man was published in 1965 during the height of the civil rights movement, which gave it the ability to leave more resonance with people who were on both sides of the movement. It brings to light the realization that racism is a learned attribute not something that one is born with. James Baldwin is in a way trying to us his story going to meet the man to get that point across, that racism can have an end be put to it by teaching children that everyone is

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