The Rockpile by James Baldwin essays discuss is the short story by African American writer James Baldwin that first appeared in his collection Going to . James Baldwin’s “The Rockpile” was first published in in the author’s first and only short-story collection, Going to Meet the Man. Critics believe that it may . Question #1 Does this story call to mind any of your own childhood experiences? Explain.

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The Rockpile Themes

In contrast to Roy’s rebellious nature, John is the obedient son, doing whatever he is told. It is a massive pile of natural rock coming right out of the ground, and nobody really knows what it is there for. Baldwin was the eldest of nine children and spent much of his time raising his younger brothers and sisters while his mother worked. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

As Carolyn Wedin Sylvander says in her book, James Baldwin, the differences between the two works “are significant. Question 4 What draws Roy to the Rockpile? John’s Aunt Florence, when explaining why the alien rockpile is still on the empty lot, concocts a violent story. Learn more about citation styles Citation styles Encyclopedia. Please log in to add your comment.

Where was you when all this happened? Says Jones, they “are obviously culls or unused remnants from Go Tell It on the Mountain and ought best to be considered in connection with that work. From past experiences, both Elizabeth and John know that Roy is Gabriel’s “heart” and that injury to him is a personal affront to Gabriel. For this reason, it makes sense that Baldwin chose not to include “The Rockpile” version in his novel. Roy is frightened at what his father will say, but his father is sympathetic towards Roy—saving his anger for his wife and John.

The Rockpile Themes

Throughout his career, most of Baldwin’s critics praised only a handful of the author’s works, and they either criticized or ignored the others.

As a result, the population continued to swell, and the buildings became dilapidated from overuse and lack of repairs. By examining the historical context of the s and s, one can offer a potential reason.

To pay the higher rents, many families moved in together or took in boarders to help shoulder the rent load. Baldwin’s stature, nor do they diminish it by much.


The Rockpile

Her fear combines with the comment that the boys see Gabriel as an end to their freedom to suggest that Gabriel is a terror who makes his entire family uncomfortable; he does so by evoking feelings in them which control certain parts of their behavior even in his absence.

Since the rockpile is in sight of the Grimes’s fire escape, Roy watches others fight there and yearns to go fight himself: When Roy’s father does come home, he quickly goes to Roy and babies him, telling him its ok, daddy is here, and asking him what happened. In the way that it is depicted in the story, the hard rocks and the fights that take place there become symbols for the hard struggles faced by African Americans in the Harlem ghetto.

The main characters are Morning Girl and Star Boy they are siblings that cannot stand each other. It is easy to see why Baldwin rewrote the story. Registration Forgot your password? WRITE about one person who has been important.

I’ll be wanting to know when all this happened, what you was doing with your eyes then. Elizabeth’s comment on Gabriel’s hard head and her admonition that he should do better than he has been doing neutralize Gabriel’s active anger, but the silent intensity of it remains; she sees fury and hatred in his eyes, which “were struck alive, unmoving, blind with malevolence.

Check out this article to learn more or contact your system administrator. After Roy gets back in the house crying and screaming, being carried in by Sister McCandless, they take him up and start to wash the blood away from his face.

McCandless catches Gabriel on the stairs as he is coming home from work and warns him about Roy’s injury. When people kick something, they generally lead with their toe. Roy is upset and begins to cry when he tries to tell Gabriel what happened. Question 3 Do you think that Gabriel overreacts to Roy’s injury? Analysis Time Period Historical Context About the Harlem Renaissance Spanning the s to the mids, the Harlem Renaissance was a literary, artistic, and intellectual movement that kindled a new black cultural identity.

Anderson, Jervis, This Was Harlem: Gabriel then tries to blame John, but Elizabeth sticks up for John and prevents him from getting beaten, telling Gabriel that Roy got his injury because Gabriel spoils rockppile. The story is more than just a “halting first step” in the process of writing this novel, as Stephen Donadio calls it in Partisan Review.


The same tension between John and Gabriel exists here as in Go Tell It on the Mountain —or perhaps it is more visible here, since Gabriel literally frightens John into speechlessness—and Elizabeth understands in both instances, but Gabriel refuses to in either. As more African Americans moved into Harlem, white building owners charged increasingly exorbitant rents. From the very beginning, the story offers several examples, real or imagined, of violent events.

Inin the Saturday Review, Daniel Stern praised the collection, calling the short stories “closer in spirit, tone, and achievement to his best critical work than it is to his ‘sensational’ fiction.

What would you have done if you were in John’s place? Anderson’s book offers an in-depth discussion of what life was like in Harlem in the first half of the twentieth century. Wondering when Elizabeth will learn to “do right,” Gabriel tries to reclaim his authoritarian superiority, but Elizabeth stands firm in maintaining that no one has “let” Roy go downstairs: Then the story is over, with Roy’s father not doing anything Summary The consistent themes in Baldwin’s fiction, including personal identity, racial struggle, and the role of religion in daily life are present in “The Rockpile.

While the people in Harlem got poorer, not too far away the rich were getting richer. Neither you, nor the coeditors you shared it with will be able to recover it again.

It is at this point that Elizabeth sticks up for John and places the blame for Roy’s accident squarely on Gabriel’s shoulders.

They both have features similar to those they have in the novel, but the background information on how they came to be as they are cannot be handled very effectively within the story. Also, in the novel, John does not see Roy’s fight.

Her reaction borders on hysteria, in sharp contrast to the more stoic Elizabeth in Go Tell It on the Mountain.