Literary Reflections–Baldwin

I taught “Going to Meet the Man” yesterday. While I respect this work so much, I also hate it. Or, more specifically, I hate to read it because it is so incredibly gruesome, in the description of the protester being beaten; in the description of Jessie’s sadistic arousal by violence; and even more so, in the description of the lynching at the end. I have never read the final scenes at the lynching without cringing and without wanting to stop reading, turn away, close my eyes to the horror. Yet, I purposefully assign this story every semester, partly to force myself to read it again and again; keeping myself from turning away from horrors of the past, just because they make me uncomfortable.