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Stranger in a Village
In "Stranger in a Village", James Baldwin writes about his experience in a small village in Switzerland. He points out that because he is black, the villages find him fascinating and different. The naive villagers never saw a black man set foot in the village before. They grew curious about his skin color, wondering if the black would ever rub off. The young children would be afraid of him because they were told a devil was a black man. Baldwin was regarded as an exotic rarity. All the while, Baldwin thinks to himself that in America, there is no separation between whites and blacks.
Instead of being regarded as an exotic rarity, Baldwin wants to be regarded as a human being. Under his "mask", he is only a human being and he wants to be treated as such. He didn\'t want to be distinguished as property, some thing that can be bought and sold. He wants to live like a man. On the topic of buying a black man to convert him to christianity, Baldwin opposed to this because he feels that the black man is being too controlled by the white man. He says himself that he obtained his own cultural values from the white men who shaped the history of the blacks.
James Baldwin concludes in the end that his survival depends mainly on how well he copes with the white society. The fact that many Americans still wish for the past when there were no black men living in America is impossible, because white men had changed the history of the blacks and vice versa. The blacks made a great influence on America\'s history. Nobody can change the past. As Baldwin says, "people are trapped in history and history is trapped in them".
naiveté - the state or quality of being inexperienced or unsophisticated, especially in being artless, credulous, or uncritical.
wrest- to obtain by or as if by pulling with violent twisting movements.
nourish - To keep alive; maintain.
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James Baldwin, Stranger in the Village, Notes of a Native Son
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