What are the themes James Baldwin explores?

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Baldwin's themes are varied and complex, but regarding any author's work it's best to look for common threads among the different themes. Most readers would say that race in America is Baldwin's principal concern. This is partly true, but consider the following about the topics dealt with in his fiction:

The novel Go Tell it on the Mountain deals with a teenager's conflict with his strict, ultra-religious father (who is not actually his biological father) and explores the young man's pre-history, so to speak. The backstory of his mother and his biological father, and that of his step-father, is narrated, and Baldwin's theme is largely how the past has shaped the young man's own identity and destiny.

Giovanni's Room is a path-breaking novel about the gay subculture of the 1950s.

Another Country is the story of a diverse group of New Yorkers, both straight and gay, in the early 1960s and their interactions and conflicts with one another. Baldwin seems to be asking if these people are different...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 814 words.)

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