The Rockpile Summary

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James Baldwin’s short story entitled, “The Rockpile" portrayed a blended family in which I discovered themes of dominance, favoritism, rebellion, and alienation. The story introduces the reader to the rockpile within the first few lines which immediately shows that Roy has a desire to rebel against his parents rules. The author states Roy’s eagerness to play amongst the rockpile,“Roy felt it to be his right, not to say his duty, to play there” (15). In this short introduction I could immediately feel Roy’s fascination with the rockpile. The rockpile appeals to Roy not only because he is forbidden, but because he is adventurous and reckless. The rockpile doesn’t seem to allure his half-brother, John. The juxtaposition between Roy and John emphasizes…show more content…
He immediately shows his dominance as he demands to know what is going on. We also feel the alienation of John in this moment. Baldwin emphasizes the tension of the relationship between Gabriel and his stepson, “John stood just before him, it seemed to her astonished vision just below him, beneath his fist, his heavy shoe. The child stared at the man in fascination and terror…” (22). I could immediately feel Gabriel’s presence in the story because all of the characters seem to be afraid of what Gabriel’s reaction will be. As Gabriel confronts his son Roy we can see the theme of favoritism in the story. Baldwin highlights Gabriel’s favoritism towards Roy, “‘How do you feel, son? Tell your Daddy what happened?’” (22). As Gabriel is expressing terms of endearment towards Roy, we can see how he reacts towards John and Elizabeth with disdain and hatred. The tension between the characters is obvious. Elizabeth finally establishes her dominance as Gabriel tries to blame John. I felt extremely bad for John because the only thing he didn’t do in his situation was speak up. He had absolutely nothing to do with Roy getting hurt. Of course, his step-father believes otherwise because he wants to blame his step-son. By blaming John, he is also blaming Elizabeth for giving birth to him out of wedlock. In the end of the story, it is quite evident that there are a lot of internal issues that are exposed. I particularly enjoyed that Elizabeth showed
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