Ideality’s Affect on Self-Acceptance in Giovanni's Room

Topics: Homosexuality, Identity, Man Pages: 4 (1692 words) Published: April 5, 2013
Mankind as a whole struggles to remain a united species. White dominant forces impose defined identities to classify people based on gender, sexuality, social status, religion, etc. It is the overlap of these factors that allows people to formulate their own inclusive identity. In James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room and Darieck Scott’s “This City of Men” the central struggle seems to be internal, within the mindset of the characters. These characters are faced with the inability to accept their true identity due to the ideal and limited profiles that hegemonic forces inflict upon them. Baldwin and Scott pose differing methods of conveying the intersectionality of race, gender, and nationality. In both works the reader can identify a sense of self-denial among the main characters, however, there are different approaches taken to surmount these denials. It is evident that these varying matters of self-declaration are essentially the authors’ individual initiatives toward deteriorating exclusive identification norms. The objective of this novel, Giovanni’s Room, is to evoke change from within society by using the character of David, a homosexual, white American man. Baldwin’s effort is one of disidentification, “working on and against” the dominant culture in order to bring about progress toward acceptance of such identities (Johnson, 13). Because David is American he is intensely concerned with the person he should be rather than the person that he prefers to be. His initial feelings and thoughts reflect the person he is, but David makes every attempt to escape them. This is evident in the beginning of the novel, in the situation with Joey. David describes Joey’s body as “the most beautiful creation [he] had ever seen till then”, but after a while of contemplation David panics and feels beastly for having such desire for a boy (Baldwin, 9). Situations of intuition verses deliberation similar to this one reappear throughout the novel, especially after David encounters...
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