Injustices in Blues For Mister Charlie by James Baldwin Essay

Injustices in Blues For Mister Charlie by James Baldwin Essay

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A collective few people must surrender their power that has been given to them over others to achieve justice and equality, it is with that sacrifice James Baldwin believes we can all obtained justice. But, those who choose to use the power of their binary advantage such as race, gender, and economic status as the function of their identity—they will only support the injustice in society. In the play Blues For Mister Charlie written by James Baldwin, he demonstrates the injustices through characterization within the play. The character Parnell serves as the one person who is powerful enough to achieve justice if he is willing to surrender his power. Baldwin uses the dynamics of power in the characters to illustrate the struggle for justice and the creation of injustice. It is the advantages of each characters power that gives them a privilege that makes it difficult to sacrifice for the justice and equality that Baldwin believes we can achieve.

Baldwin defines the power dynamics as the privileges people have over another in society. Race, gender, and economic status all contribute to the beneficiary that is privilege. The privilege can be equated to the advantages of whiteness over blackness, the wealthy over the poor, and male over female. The character Parnell is a person who is a white man and who is wealthy, Parnell has privileges other characters like Lyle, Jo, Richard, and Meridian do not have, therefore Parnell has power. For instance the privilege of whiteness will make society treat Lyle and Parnell with humanity and dignity compared to blackness which treats people like Richard and Meridian as second class citizens. Manhood is also an advantage that society hands out, Parnell and Lyle’s manhood will give them a sense o...


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... support the injustice in society, and Parnell now realizes that. The silver lining in Parnell’s epiphany is that he finally realizes he is at fault, he tells Lyle “I have failed you so badly—let me say this. I did not doubt Jo’s word. I knew she was lying and that you had made her lie. That was a terrible thing to do to her. It was a terrible thing that I just did to you. I really don’t know if what I did to Meridian was as awful as what I did to you.” (117). Parnell admits his wrong doing, and he admits that his wrong doing is an injustice—a justice that he indicates that Meridian was robbed of. In his epiphany, that silver lining, Parnell knows that if he wanted justice for Meridian and Richard and if he wants that cliche justice for all, he must be one of the collective few that surrenders their power that has been given to them over others to achieve it—justice.

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