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"With this fearful intimation there opened in me a hatred for Giovanni which was as powerful as my love and which was nourished by the same roots." (2.1.56)

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James Arthur Baldwin was born on August 2, 1924, in Harlem, New York. James was born on August 2, 1924, in Harlem, New York. He is known as one of the 20th century's greatest writers. He was one of few authors brave enough, at the time, to explore social and racial issues in his work. Baldwin developed his passion for reading at an early age. Before writing Giovanni's Room, he published numerous poems, short stories, essays, and plays in magazines. During his youth, he served as youth minister in a Harlem Penetcostal church. After graduating high school, Baldwin put his college plans on hold to support his family, which included seven younger children. While working to support his family, he befriended writer Richard Wright. Through Wright, he was able to land a fellowship. By publishing his essays and short stories in periodocals like The Nation and the Partisan Review, he was able to cover all his expenses.
In 1946, feeling alienated for being a homosexual black man, Baldwin moved to Paris. "Once I found myself on the other side of the ocean, I see where I came from very clearly...I am the grandson of a slave, and I am a writer. I must deal with both." By moving to Paris, Baldwin was free to explore and write more about his personal and racial background. Baldwin wrote works such as, Go Tell It On The Mountain , Nobody Knows My Name , The Amen Corner , and Notes of a Native Son . On November 30, 1987- December 1,1987, Baldwin died at the age of 61, in St. Paul de Vence, France, of stomach cancer.

Part One: The book starts off with David grieving as his former lover, Giovanni, is about to be guillotined. He flashes back to his first experience with a boy, Joey. After making love with Joey and realizing his attraction to men, David covers it up by bullying Joey. David grew up with his father and his aunt Ellen, after his mother dies when he is five. Ellen is a overbearing presence in the household. David's father, who is promiscuous and an alcoholic, wants to be David's friend instead of a father. The two grow apart from each other as David realizes, he is becoming more like his father. He convinces his father to let him not go to college and get a job. This is when David moves to Paris, to find himself. After becoming broke in Paris, David call a homosexual acquaintance, Jacques, to ask for money. David flashes back to when he first met Giovanni. He met Giovanni, the bartender, in a gay bar owned by Guillame. Although David tries to hide his attraction to Giovanni, Jacques notices how well they get along. He tells David to love Giovanni with all his heart and not to be ashamed of this.
Part Two: While in Giovanni's room, David tells Giovanni about Hella, His fiance. As Giovanni begins to pry into David and Hella's relationship, they quickly become agitated with each other. David soon realizes that he and Giovanni will have to separate when Hella returns from Spain. After receiving a letter from Hella announcing her return, David quickly looks for a girl to fornicate with because he is afraid of Hella learning about Giovanni. When David returns he finds a distraught and histerical Giovanni. Guillame, jealous of Giovanni's affair with David, accuses Giovanni of being a thief and bastard. Guillame then quickly fires Giovanni. After David returns from picking up Hella and spending weeks with her, he returns to Giovanni. Giovanni is furious with David. He tells David his life story. When he lived in a little village in Italy, his wife gave birth to a stillborn child. He then gave up his faith and family and fled. After making wedding plans with Hella, David goes to find Giovanni. Through the grapevine he hears Giovanni went to get his job back. When David arrives at the bar, he finds Guillame's body above the bar, strangled by a sash. After Giovanni is captured and pleads guilty, he is sentenced to death. When the date of Giovanni's execution is mailed to him, David tears up the envelope. The wind blows all the pieces against his back.

Most of the book takes place in Paris, France during the 1950s.

David is reminiscing about the days he spent with Giovanni in the streets of Paris. In part one of the book, David is about to take a train back to Paris. He begins to think about his first sexual relationship, with his childhood friend, Joey. From then on David hides his attraction to men, and begins to hate himself for allowing such a thing to happen. In part two, Giovanni and David finally reach the subject of Hella, David's soon to be fiance. David argues with Giovanni because he doesnt want to think about Hella. He thinks about how he is glad she is in Spain. Soon after going on vacation, Hella breaks off the engagement with David because she caught him sleeping with a sailor. David left because he doesnt want Hella to live under him as a woman.

Daid's relationship with Giovanni is the major conflict. Before meeting Giovanni, David is a flirtatious man. He lets other men buy him drinks and give him money, but he never goes any further with them. His attraction to Giovanni comsumes him and this presents a major problem when Hella returns to Paris.

Characters (main)
David- Protaganist, grew up in Brooklyn. Realized he was gay after fornicating with another boy of the opposite race. Moves to Paris and soon becomes invovled in another homosexual relationship with Giovanni.
Giovanni- Romantic interest, bartender at Guillame's bar. Left family in Italy after wife gave birth to a stillborn child.
Jacques- David's guide/mentor. lonely, uses his money to get his friends.
Guillame- Antagonist, constanly taunted with things he cannot have. He is an old homosexual man, also uses his money to lure boys to fornicate with him.
Hella- David's girlfriend/fiance- loves to travel, another of David's romantic interests.
Joey- David's childhood friend, with whom David had his first homosexual experience with.

Literary Devices
When Giovanni goes to serve another customer, a man, known as the flaming princess, walks up to David. He tells David that Giovanni is a dangerous man. " You will be very unhappy. Remember that I told you so." (60) This prediction came true. David gets upset when Giovanni prys into his private life with Hella. David is also unhappy when Giovanni strains their relationship, after he is fired from the bar and kills Guillame.

At the end of the book, David tears up the envelope containing Giovanni's execution date. He throws the pieces on the ground, but the wind blows all the pieces up against his back again. This symbolizes that David will never forget Giovanni and always carry the guilt of his execution with him.

Self- denial, homosexuality, fatalism, social alienation

Literary Criticism
After the first review of Giovanni's Room, Baldwin's publisher told him to burn the book, because the books homosexuality theme would cause his readers to abandon him. No american publisher would touch it because of all the sexually explicit homosexual nature of the book. However, John Clellon Holmes and Mark Schorer thought Giovanni's Room as, "beautifully written". Many editors believed the publication of this book would destroy Baldwin's credibility as a black writer. Some publisher's even turned the book into a personal attack. Publisher Eldridge Cleaver suggested that, "the black homosexual who takes a white lover enacts self- hatred against his own balckness...". Other publishers believe, the complexity of Giovanni's Room is an achievement.

Personal Review
I really enjoyed reading this novel. I kept me interested throughout and I kept guessing what would happen next. I would reccommend this novel to my peers because I think they would enjoy it and they could learn alot about a different culture while reading it.