Fire Next Time

by James Baldwin

Main Arguments

  1. SELF-IDENTIFICATION: Baldwin consistently explains that black people must never identify as what white people define them as.
  2. BLACK V. WHITE: Baldwin is always comparing whites versus blacks in terms of religion,
  3. BLACK GOD V. WHITE DEVIL: all good humans and creations come from Allah (who is black) and white people, who are described as "the creation of the Devil"

IN THE MEDIA

These two videos posted by BuzzfeedVideo discuss the inner-turmoil in black people when they get called the N-word and the second video is how they view themselves as opposed to how the world and white society view them.
What The N-Word Feels Like
When Did You First Feel Proud To Be Black?

RHETORICAL DEVICES

  • epanlepsis (repetition of the word white): Page 45: "The white man's Heaven...has operated with an unmitigated arrogance and cruelty-necessarily, since a religion ordinarily imposes on those who have discovered the faith the spiritual duty of liberation the infidels": deepens the contrast between blacks and whites, pitting them against each other as complete and total opposite.


  • pronomination (description of something by it's qualities rather than by name): Page 7: "This innocent country set you down...to their inhumanity and fear.": this description of what black is serves the purpose of defining black through examples to Baldwin's nephew and reader.


  • repetitive (and almost excessive) use of a certain term/idea: Page 66 (or anywhere else in the book): "Black men ruled the earth and the black man was perfect.": Baldwin commonly uses the idea of "black perfection" in order to push forward the mindset that, black is better than white (as opposed to societal views). Personally, I also believe that he used the idea of black perfection in order to boost moral in self-identification.