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"Rock Pile" Analysis

Essay by 24  •  December 6, 2010  •  686 Words (3 Pages)  •  2,766 Views

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James Baldwin was the author of many works such as Giovanni's Room, Another Country, and The Fire Next Time. As a young boy in Harlem, his talent with words was seen. Despite his talents they were hardly allowed to be used due to the fact his deeply religious parents disapproved of his interest in literature and wanted him to pursue in the church. After doing a few odd jobs and following in his fathers footsteps and becoming a preacher for several years Baldwin moved to Paris where he lived for the next four years.It was during these years that his career jump started with his first hit GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN. Baldwin was known for writing on racy subjects such as homosexuality,civil rights, and prejudices. He was a successful writer all the way up until his death in 1987, after which his works are still read today.

The "Rock Pile" was written in the third person point of view, because it is told by the narrator. the narrator begins laying the foundation of the story by telling why the children are not allowed to go to the rock pile which gives the reader background information and helps them realize the significance of the children contradicting their father and playing on the rock pile. The author lets the narrator tell most of the story until the end when he begins to use dialogue. Within the dialogue,there is the use of, regional dialect such as when the was talking to mother: " it's a mercy it weren't nutin worse". The dialect comes into play when applying it to the setting, a depression stricken Harlem society.The author uses this dialogue to allow the father to explain why he thinks that he knows the proper way to raise his children and the accident is indirectly the mothers fault. . Baldwin had the ability to end the story in dialogue because the narrator was no longer needed due to the fact that he supplied enough information and made the reader comfortable enough with the characters to end the story.

Style in James Baldwin's "The Rock Pile" is very important for the understanding of the short story. His religious background plays a big role in the style, references to "the good lord" and to"saints" are seen, as well as a reference to the father as "the reverend". There was also a conflict between the family's strict religious values and the temptations of the neighborhood. Regional dialect is also used;

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