The Fire Next Time

By Joe Kapral And Brian Do

Main Assertion

- Equality: People should consider black people as equals and blacks will soon be treated as equal parts in society.

- Religion: The church suggests a white God and is subjective against blacks.

- Discrimination: White people suppress black people and treat them as inferior.


This clip from John Oliver's "Last Week Tonight" connects to Baldwin's The Fire Next Time in where the clip talks about the controversial even of Ferguson. In the novel, Baldwin discusses how at that era, there is racial discrimination that occurs, despite the 14th amendment stating that cannot simply take away the rights of any citizen by law. Oliver talks about the racial tensions that were uprising from the whole Ferguson event and even before the event in the town.

Rhetorical Utilizations

  • Repetition: "In every wine stain...In every knife... in every disastrous bulletin..." (Baldwin 20) This impact the passage by showing how Baldwin views the issues in today's society.

  • Hyperbole: "'The white man sure is a devil.'" (Baldwin 65) This really helps emphasize how Elijah feels against the white race.

  • Allusion: "God gave Noah the rainbow sign, no more water, the fire next time." (Baldwin 106) According to the bible, a flood wiped out Earth and and references the next wipe out, which should be by fire. This is a strong way to end the book as it wraps up all the thoughts in one short allusion.