Abstract

James Baldwin's stark, apocalyptic, and rage-filled portrayals of the white and black American racial psyche can overwhelm his readers who, as a result, may not appreciate that he goes beyond describing. Baldwin's scathing critiques of American race relations may eclipse a fuller understanding of his work. What did Baldwin prescribe? He ended with each individual's inescapable commitment to all others, regardless of race. Similarly, existentialism's focus on unavoidable individual choice and freedom dims its message that when we act, we act for all. Baldwin shares with existentialism, as put forth in Jean Paul Sartre's Existentialism and Human Emotions, that we exist "in the midst of others."

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 199-209
Launched on MUSE
2013-08-02
Open Access
No
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