Rhetorical Analysis Of James Baldwin's "Harlem"

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Analysis of James Baldwin’s “Harlem” Cameron Wong James Baldwin knows the Harlem ghettos in New York City are grim and unforgiving. His familiarity with the neighborhood is showcased in his essay, “Harlem”. In it, Baldwin utilizes imagery, syntax, and detailed language to achieve his goal of evoking a little sympathy for his hometown and perhaps encouraging others to take action against the discreet injustice that takes place there. Baldwin strives to open the eyes of the rest of the world to how miserable life is for a Harlem resident. Baldwin’s essay begins with short, repetitious sentences stating the main idea of his paper: how Harlem and all its inhabitants are hated by white people. The text then transitions to a vivid description of the actual layout of the neighborhood. Baldwin uses imagery and literary devices such as similes to illustrate how bleak and shabby Harlem is, describing the houses “as cheerless as a prison” (line 11.). Places that are normally considered serene and safe such as schoolhouses and churches are ironically accredited with causing the pain of children and instilling a feeling of helplessness on the community. Baldwin maintains a formal tone throughout the writing, showing how hateful he feels towards the area’s situation. After permeating the reader’s feelings with his depiction of Harlem, Baldwin moves on to a brief historical portion of the essay. He recounts how one of the neighborhood’s first private projects, Riverton, was raised. Not only does this section provide another example of white resentment towards blacks (the project caused the eviction of many black families), but it shows that Baldwin has a competent understanding of Harlem’s history; therefore, the reader gains a higher level of respect for and trust in him. Shortly after the middle of the essay, the police are then targeted by Baldwin for their role
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