The Fire Next Time

Jonathan Berry and Matthew Lakota

Main Argument (Matthew)

1)Views that blacks have on white people: throughout the book, Baldwin describes how many black people view white people as a cause of what white people have done to them. he states that one person claims that white people are "white devils" which describes how they viewed the cruel treatment and the minds of the white people.

2)Misunderstanding: In the letter that Baldwin writes he talks about how most people do not understand the cruel treatment and punishment of slaves, and that you actually have to experience the cruel treatment and punishment (which he states that he has) that slaves went through to really understand what they went through and how bad the conditions and treatment really were.

Main Arguemtn (Jonathan)

3) Religion: Throughout the book, Baldwin talks about religion in 2 ways, Christianity and Islam. It is evident that Baldwin views Religion as a very important part of the Civil Rights Movement for Blacks. While he never directly states which religion he views as more important, it is strongly implied that Baldwin views Christianity as a better option. However, he does not dismiss the merits of Islam or the faults of both

4) U.S. as force for Revolution: On pages 90 and 91 Baldwin discusses how the U.S. has the power and experience--he hopes--to make the revolutions he describes real and minimizing human damage.

Media Connection (Jonathan)

Mary Don't You Weep: This is the slave song that gave Baldwin to title of the book.

    Link for lyrics and History of song:

    Since this Slave song was develop there have been multiple modern versions of it, but many do not feature the line--which is near the end of the song--that gave Baldwin the title of his book.

    Below is the version from Aretha Franklin's 1972 Album Amazing Grace. However, this version does not include the line that gave the name of his book.

    Aretha Franklin - Mary, Don't You Weep [HD]

    Rhetorical Devices (Jonathan)

    • Baldwin uses the strategy of redefining a word to a meaning that will contribute to his argument. For Example on pages 81-84 he redefines the term "America Negro."

    • Baldwin uses Historical Allusion to develop a foundation for his argument.

    Rhetorical Devices (Matthew)

    Baldwin uses imagery throughout the book to help the readers better visualize and understand what he is saying and the argument that he is making.


    By Allan warren - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,