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“Love” in Baldwin’s ‘Another Country’

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  1. Introduction
  2. The young saxophonist
  3. The language of the passage
  4. Language of survival
  5. Cass's affair
  6. Love in white culture
  7. Love as sexual force
  8. The possibility of a utopian space in the novel
  9. The unreality of the game
  10. The problem of the other country
  11. Conclusion

Another Country is concerned with the intersection of race, sexuality, and society. Throughout, its characters struggle and suffer? struggle with ?making it? (whether artistically or in the sense of pure survival), struggle in their personal relationships, and suffer the prejudices of a socially stratified system. Juxtaposed to these dialogues of suffering is, perhaps, a dialogue of hope. But whether we ought to call this trajectory utopian is questionable. In order to analyze this problem, I will examine references to ?love? in the novel, noting the different contexts in which the word is found and consequently its different meanings. I will also look at the figure of Rufus, analyzing how his representation changes throughout the novel, and look at references to ?another country? as space of possibility. Finally, I will throughout look at the use of tone and language, examining how they further elucidate the tensions and themes of the novel.

[...] A utopia is a place apart, either physically or in its idealness, and therefore is only ideally human. But it is specifically through a humanizing trajectory that Baldwin creates his ?other country?, if it is to be said that he creates it at all. Rather than offering love or another space as alternatives to a human world, and thus utopian in nature, Baldwin presents these places as uniquely human. Because the memory of Rufus weaves itself through the lives of these characters like a thread, he represents an all-human quality. [...]

[...] Forever (Baldwin Love as sexual force appears as the irrepressible me in Cass, take me, take says Richard in Cass' memory), and if the sexual cannot be realized for Cass, then perhaps her love can Forever. Forever.). But love is only assent in the face of denial. Sexual domination is linked to personal domination in the terrain of the field, where innocence takes both forms smell of crushed flowers rose to her nostrils. She began to cry.?). ?Forever? is how long one must wait for physical gratification in this place, and love in its eternal patience replaces something more present and vital (367-369). [...]

[...] Had he murmured at last, in a strange voice, as he now heard himself murmur, Oh, Eric (Baldwin Rufus is the shadow of desire, in which hope resides. He is all the violence, through which Vivaldo wades and suffers. There is a constant need for Vivaldo to identify with Rufus. To ?know what it had been like for him?. To know how he struggled within the black/white-stratified society, to know what his pain and pleasure was, and for Vivaldo to know where Rufus lost, and where he, alive and well, had apparently won in game?. [...]

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