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Baldwin's Challenges In The Fire Next Time By James Baldwin

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The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin is a complex book taking on the theme of being an African- American in the 1960s. The book is compiled of two letter, including My Dungeon Shook, addressed to his nephew sharing his experience with the racial injustices in America and warning him of the dangers in today’s society. Down At The Cross Baldwin was the second letter which was an examination of Christianity role in the American society and in the oppression of the Negro race through the teachings of Elijah Muhammad a young Negro leader. Baldwin depicts white men oppressing the Negro community to achieve their ideal society. Much like the rulers described in The Prince by Machiavelli, Baldwin uses his flaws to gain a better understanding of human…show more content…
In the book Baldwin turns to church to escape being on The Avenue like many of his other friends. “Owing to the way I had been raised, the abrupt discomfort that all this aroused in me and the fact that I had no idea what my voice my mind or my body was likely to do next caused me to consider myself one of the most depraved people on earth.” (Baldwin,pg 16). Having a strict religious background Baldwin was worried about his sudden interest in The Avenue where the pimps, whores and drug dealers gathered. This was one of his flaws since he was straying from the path of education and religion. Through church he discovered that there was no love in the church; “I really mean there was no love in the church. It was a mask for hatred and self hatred and despair.”( Baldwin,pg 39).People use the church to outrun their sins and hate within themselves, it was just a cover up for their true feelings. The Fire Next Time shows that not being white is flaw in they eyes of the white community. Only this could a flaw if Negroes truly believed what they were being told, “You can only be destroyed by believing that you really are what the white world calls a nigger.” (Baldwin, pg 4). But like Machiavelli said “If he thinks about the carefully he will see if he tries to acquire certain qualities which seem good he might lose his power.” Because Baldwin confidence never wavered about being flawed it gave him power…show more content…
This knowledge wasn’t achieved by all the good qualities Baldwin has it this point is discussed in a quote by Machiavelli. “On the other hand, some other qualities which seem bad will help him to increase his power”, this quote from The Prince explains how leaders use their bad qualities to gain power or a deeper understanding. “On the other hand, some other qualities which seem bad will help him to increase his power.’Baldwin has seen both sides of the Negro and white community which allows him to form his own opinions, not listen to what he is told about one another. Baldwin not listening/ joining Elijah Muhammad a young Negro leader along side of Malcolm X was look down upon in the Negro community making this a bad quality of Baldwin. But with this bad quality Baldwin was able to see that not only can Negroes change their situation they needed the help of white America. It stated that “ Now, there is simply no possibility of real change in the Negro situation without the most radical and far reaching changes in the American political and social structure.” (Baldwin , pg 84). Being that white men run those two aspects stated this was not only a message to the Negro community it was a message for everyone in this country. Without this change Baldwin describes a very hostile environment stating Negroes will create chaos and bring down the curtains on the American dream for everyone. It’s
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