I am writing a research paper on Baldwin's short stories "Going to Meet the Man" and "This Morning, This Evening, So Soon." I am stuck on an original topic and an argumentative thesis. Any ideas? I need a topic that is broad enough to write at least twelve pages, so I need a topic that I can find plenty of peer-reviewed material in the online college library.

A thesis for both "Going to Meet the Man" and "This Morning, This Evening, So Soon" could focus on how James Baldwin shows that white racism has made it impossible for Black people to live in America without accepting an inferior and subservient role.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

"Going to Meet the Man" and "This Morning, This Evening, So Soon," are contrasting pieces from the same 1965 short story collection, which takes its overall title from the former story. There are various contrasts between the two, the most obvious being that the former takes the perspective of a white man in America, while the latter uses that of a Black man returning from long residence in France. The second of these viewpoints is similar to Baldwin's own, since he traveled to France at the age of 24 and lived there for much of his life. The impact of emigration on his life has been much discussed in academic writing on Baldwin, as well as in more strictly biographical work.

A topic which would encompass both stories might deal with the way in which Baldwin depicts White racism as rendering it impossible for Black people to live in America unless they accept an inferior and subservient position. This links Jesse's treatment of Black demonstrators in "Going to Meet the Man" with the narrator's trepidation about returning to the United States, and his memories of being humiliated and exploited there in "This Morning, This Evening, So Soon." You could use Baldwin's own experiences to illustrate this thesis, comparing them with those Jesse inflicts on others in one story, and those which the narrator suffers in the other.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial