The Fire Next Time

By James Baldwin

Main Points

In the book, James Baldwin emphasizes:

1. Tolerance- The author includes a letter he wrote to his nephew, in which he states that the black race needs to accept the white race. He later discusses Elijah's point of view on the white devil, which he disagrees with. He speaks about integration of races, and equality.

2. Religion- He talks about his years as a young minister, and how he felt about the people who were running the church, how there were faults in his church, and he spoke about Elijah's religious views about the destiny of the black man.

3. Lack of Protection- with the repetition of "Protect your Women" and his own encounters with the very people who are supposed to protect him, who instead hurt him and bully him, Baldwin lets the reader know what kind of world black people live in- a place where they have to look over themselves.

Rhetorical Devices Used

1. Rhetorical Questions- On page 69 and 72, the author uses rhetorical question to create a more conversation-like feel to the passages. "Was this True?" (Page 72) "Had they failed?" (Page 72) Although no one has the answer, the question humanizes the piece and makes it more approachable.

2. Like on page 63, although it occurs all throughout the book, the author uses perspective in his writing to convey his thought, judgement and assumptions. This gives the book a certain confidence, to confide in his readers. "I had the feeling, as he talked and laughed with the others, whom I could only think of as his children that he was sizing me up."

3. He uses repetition in the “Yes, that’s right” phrase to indicate that Elijah’s followers agreed with every word he said constantly. Other instances, like, “protect your women.” is used to emphasize the phrase as a constant struggle and necessity. Page 65, "Elijah went on about the crimes of white people, to the endless chorus of "Yes, that's right."

Separate But Not Equal Video Connection

In the Fire Next Time, Baldwin talks about landmark cases for or against the black community, like the Dred Scott case. Here in this video, it talks about the landmark case which eliminates segregation in schools.