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Summary Analysis Baldwin goes to a small village in Switzerland and learns that he is the first black person to ever visit. The village is high in the mountains but not particularly inaccessible.
Snow falls heavily, and the village has hot spring water which attracts tourists, most of whom are physically disabled and hope bathing in the water will heal them.
This never fails to shock Baldwin, though he smiles in order to appear friendly and pleasant. The villagers are extremely curious about his physical features, and some touch his hair or rub his skin to see if the color will come off.
Baldwin knows the villagers do not mean to insult him, but this does not make him feel much better. Where a white person would likely find the village a close-knit, harmonious place, Baldwin feels a profound sense of alienation from those around him. Their curiosity about his physical features not only suggests that they think of him as some kind of exotic creature, but also that they do not understand that he has internal subjectivity like any other person.
They feel no sense of shame around him, and are unconcerned about the shame he might feel. During the Lent carnival, two children are ritually painted in blackface and solicit these donations.
The wife of a bistro owner happily tells Baldwin that last year the village bought Africans. Baldwin thinks about European missionaries who are the first white people to arrive in African villages, but he notes that this is a different phenomenon from what he experiences in the Swiss village.
White people do not wish to be hated, but neither are they willing to give up their power. Active Themes Related Quotes with Explanations Baldwin returns to the village each summer for multiple years, and the villagers grow less curious about him.
Some are friendly, while some are rude and insulting behind his back. As a result, they have had to manufacture a relationship to the United States and to the world in order to survive.
The most important of these principles is, of course, white supremacy. Here Baldwin offers a counter-narrative to the mainstream account of the relationship between Europe and America. The prevailing narrative of American history focuses on the experience of the settlers, who—facing persecution in Europe—fled to America in order to found a new country based on principles of freedom, equality, and democracy.
However, Baldwin suggests that the more important account of the emergence of the United States should focus on the transmission of white supremacy from Europe into this new land. This is, after all, the only narrative that factors in the stories of all Americans, not just white people.
Active Themes Although Americans have enacted white supremacy in a particularly vicious and brutal manner, they did not invent it. White Americans must find ways to live with black people in order to live with themselves, but they have thus far not succeeded in acknowledging or resolving this fact.
Black Americans are not strangers in the West—they are of the West, and, as such, have a uniquely terrible and meaningful relationship to white Americans, their oppressors. People must accept the reality that the existence of the United States has created not only a new black identity, but a new white identity.
This desire for innocence is problematic in a number of ways, not least of which is the fact that it strives to ignore the crimes committed by white people against people of color, rather than holding white people accountable.
However, because this innocence will never be a reality, Baldwin ends on a hopeful note that progress is inevitable. Cite This Page Choose citation style: Retrieved November 25, In Albert Camus's "The Stranger", the absurdity of life from Camus's eyes are put on display through the main character Meursault.
The sense that the meaning of life is in the human experiences and that things shouldn't be questioned is the basis of who Meursault truly is as a person.
Stranger in the village. By James Baldwin. Download Pdf. Read Online. This article is available in PDF and Microfiche formats only.
You are currently viewing this article as a guest. If you are a subscriber, please sign in. If you aren't, please subscribe below and get access to . Stranger in the village published in is a story about James Baldwin who visits a small village in Switzerland.
There, all the people of the village observe him and are shock to see him because he is black. Thus, they treat him like an animal and all him "Nigger".
At the beginning Baldwin describes how the people in Switzerland treat him. The village's only real attraction, which explains the tourist season, is the hot spring water.
A disquietingly high proportion of these tourists are cripples, or semi- cripples, who come year after year-from other parts of Switzerland, usually-to take the waters. "An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice is in reality expressing the very highest respect for the law.".
Mar 04, · In Stranger in the Village it was the naivety people experience when encountered with some thing or someone foreign. Has there ever been a time that you felt like the protagonist in Stranger in the Village?
I feel I could relate some what to the protagonist in Stranger in the Village because of my own personal experiences.