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Hostel Mis

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The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
The Novel at a Glance
SUMMARY The book opens with the essay “My Dungeon Shook,” written as a letter to Baldwin’s nephew on the one hundredth anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. Baldwin says that the celebration is a hundred years too early, because black people in America are still not free. He exhorts his nephew to approach life with love, even though he lives in a racist world. In the second essay, “Down at the Cross: Letter from a Region in My Mind,” Baldwin describes his visit to the leader of the Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad. Baldwin concludes that he does not agree with the Nation of Islam’s bitter beliefs about white people. In closing, Baldwin says that if Americans stop thinking of the United States as a white nation, it can transform the world. MORE ABOUT THE WRITER When James Baldwin was sixteen, he began one of the most important friendships of his life. As a confused and self-doubting teenager, he needed a mentor, and he found one in Beauford Delaney, a painter who lived in Greenwich Village in New York City. A black man and an artist, Delaney provided Baldwin with a model of how to respond to experience and transform it into works of art. Virtually taking the place of a father, Delaney introduced his young protégé not only to music and art, but also to a wide circle of friends, and Baldwin began to recognize new possibilities for himself. Through Beauford Delaney and his scratchy phonograph recordings, Baldwin became interested in jazz and blues, and he maintained a passion for music throughout his life. He listened to Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Fats Waller, Bessie Smith, and Lena Horne. As he grew up, jazz became a fundamental part of his life, and he accumulated a large collection of records. On a transatlantic voyage in 1952, he was able to spend hours talking with Dizzy...

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