Intersections of Race, Sexuality, and Gender in James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room
James Baldwin is one of the greatest artists of the postmodern era. It will not be an overstatement to say that no author has shaped the narrative of race, sexuality, and gender in Black America, apart from Toni Morrison. Giovanni’s Room (1956) is a powerful testament to Baldwin’s creative and technical genius. The oeuvre of this great writer is very contemporary, even though they were written years ago. This paper intends to examine the racial, sexual, and gender intersections of the said novel. With a close look at feminist thinkers like Toril Moi and Sara Ahmed, sexuality and gender biases are overall addressed. This paper puts an effort to decipher how race and sexuality predominate over people in due course. Despite being a homosexual man himself, Baldwin has to paint homosexuals as powerless and akin to darkness or blackness while heterosexuality rules over as the powerful one. Female characters are relatively weak and granted much space or thought. On top of that, inherent racism pervades the novel like a spear. This paper delves deeper into the realm of dynamics and power struggles, vis-à-vis race, sexuality, and gender.
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