Analysis Of Eldridge Cleaver's 'Soul On Ice'

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Soul on Ice by Eldridge Cleaver is a collection of writings and correspondence with his attorney Beverly Axelrod from his time in the Folsom State Prison in California in 1965. Eldridge Cleaver was convicted of drug crimes and then convicted again later after he committed a series of rapes against black and white women. Within Soul on Ice, Eldridge Cleaver details his pursuit of self-discovery and the pursuit of knowledge and new ideologies within the prison system. In addition, Cleaver explores the social system and race relations of black and white people during the Civil Rights Movement. Cleaver renounces his actions as rapist and converts to a Malcom X follower and later a Marxist revolutionary. The novel is divided into four distinct sections: “Letters from Prison”, “Blood of the Beast”, Prelude to Love”, and “White Woman, Black Man”. The first section details Cleaver’s early experiences and background in prison. “Blood of the Beast” illustrates Cleaver’s thoughts on race relations between black and white people and his views on Black nationalism. “Prelude to Love” consists of love letters written between Cleaver and his attorney Beverly Axelrod, which emphasizes the conflict of Cleaver’s views of white women and his actions with his attorney. The section of “White Woman, Black Man” further delves into his views of white women and the role that society has in shaping gender relations between black men and white women and also in influencing masculinity and femininity.

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