James Baldwin's Stranger In The Village By James Baldwin

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In the essay “Stranger in the Village”, by James Baldwin, printed in The Arlington Reader, the author, a black African-American, narrates a personal history of the few times he visited Leukerbad, Switzerland. During his stay there he observes the Swiss culture and the reactions of their encounters with not only an American, but a black African-American. He compares this in contrary to the way White Americans react to his presence. He uses bona fide and particularized description and narration early in the essay. He transitions into comparing and contrasting, traveling, in his thoughts, back and forth from Switzerland to America. His tone is gradually growing more powerful as he progresses into argumentation and exemplification as…show more content…
He uses them many times throughout his essay. “But I remain as much a stranger today as I was the first day I arrived” (Baldwin 120) “strangers there, as I am a stranger here” (Baldwin 121). “Not only as a stranger in the village…strangely grafted…strangers anywhere in the world” (Baldwin 122). His sentence structure can be a bit choppy at times with unnecessary fillers such as “A disquietingly high proportion of these tourists are cripples, or semi-cripples, who come year after year—from other parts of Switzerland, usually—to take the waters” “Everyone in the village knows my name, though they scarcely ever use it, knows that I come from America—though, this, apparently, they will never really believe: black men come from Africa—and everyone knows that I am the friend of the son of a woman who was born here, and that I am staying in their chalet”(Baldwin…show more content…
It is visible that Baldwin was very prejudice towards white Americans. He shows this by the rage in his tone when he speaks of them. The majority of the examples he uses to prove his racial discrimination in America are of African slavery back in the 1800’s. However, he does not see the people in the Swiss village as racist but merely curious about him despite the fact that “some of the men have accused le sale negre (the dirty Negro) – behind my back – of stealing wood”. “Other women look down or look away or rather contemptuously smirk” (Baldwin 123). As he veers into the main focus of argumentation in his essay, he brings up the history of racial discrimination practiced in the form of slavery. He clearly states that slavery dates back earlier than just America “there was a day, and not really a very distant day, when American were scarcely Americans at all but discontented Europeans, facing a great unconquered continent and strolling, say, into a marketplace and seeing black men for the first time” (Baldwin 124). Although he acknowledges the fact that Americans originally came from Europe and brought along European values and beliefs, he still proclaims America the root cause of it all “Europe’s black possessions remained—and do remain—in Europe’s colonies, at which remove they represented no threat whatever to European
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