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A Letter To My Nephew James Baldwin Analysis

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In A Letter to My Nephew, James Baldwin, the now deceased critically acclaimed writer, pens a message to his nephew, also named James. This letter is meant to serve as a caution to him of the harsh realities of being black in the United States. With Baldwin 's rare usage of his nephew 's name in the writing, the letter does not only serve as a letter to his relative, but as a message to black youth that is still needed today. Baldwin wrote this letter at a time where his nephew was going through adolescence, a period where one leaves childhood and inches closer and closer to becoming an adult. Black children, especially males, are not afforded the same privilege of going through the period of making mistakes and growing that their white…show more content…
"I have begun this letter five times and torn it up five times. I keep seeing your face, which is also the face of your father and my brother" (1) indicates that Baldwin put time and effort into making this work as heartfelt as possible to make his message clear. The writing style he used in this message is one that shows that he is familiar with his audience, his nephew. At the same time, this language style is familiar because this letter can be used to address African-American teens other than his nephew James. Baldwin 's language in A Letter to My Nephew shows that he is pacifying his nephew for being born into the environment that he is in, but at the same time passing the blame onto the United States for creating such an environment. The following quote shows that Baldwin acknowledged that the position that his nephew is in is one that is not only familiar to him, but to his grandmother and those that came before her: "Now, my dear namesake, these innocent and well-meaning people, your countrymen, have caused you to be born under conditions not far removed from those described for us by Charles Dickens in the London of more than a hundred years ago… I know the conditions under which you were born for I was there. Your countrymen were not there and haven 't made it yet. Your grandmother was also there and no one has ever accused her of being
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