Sex In If Beale Street Could Talk

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All throughout human history, people of all genders have used sexual intercourse as a pastime in addition to its practical use of procreation. In the novel If Beale Street Could Talk, by James Baldwin, sex is a topic that is discussed frequently. The contexts in which is it brought up vary widely in the book. But the most reoccurring context that sex is brought up in is race.The sexual interactions that Tish and Fonny have are a result of the racist pressures that the characters experience throughout the novel.
Tish’s sexual interactions are influenced by the way that white men harass her as a black woman. One example of a white man harassing Tish is when she is picking tomatoes at a vegetable stand and an Italian man begins to pursue her. When Tish’s hands are full with tomatoes, the man comes up to
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The first time that the two are described having sex, Tish is worried, as she has only known the way that white men treat her sexualy. And in those situations, she has always been an object that men have taken advantage of. Fonny notices this and tells her, “Don't be scared. Just remember that I belong to you. Just remember that I wouldn't hurt you for nothing in this world” (78). Fonny knows that because Tish is a black woman, that she has been an object of sexual dominance by white men, so he tries to console her. When Fonnys tells Tish that he belongs to her and that he would not hurt her, he is telling Tish that he is not going to treat her the same way that white men have. Then, when Tish and Fonny are in the act of intercourse, Tish, “held him by his nappy hair” (79). The word “nappy” is used to describe the texture of the hair of black people. Many times throughout the novel, Fonny’s hair is described as nappy, and is used by Tish to symbolize his blackness. So, when Tish is holding him by his “nappy hair,” she is holding onto Fonny by his blackness. CONCLUSION
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