the rockpile by jessica ruelle article


“The Rockpile” was written by James Baldwin, a black American writer in the 20th hundred years. This short story occurs in a avenue of Harlem around the 1930’s. James Baldwin shows us, through the existence of a dark-colored family, the conflicts that may appear in relationships, but as well the presence of temptations and sin. This dissertation will evaluate the styles that are stated previously, but likewise how, simply by some particular literary design effect, the writer plunges his viewers in his very own world.

One of the main topics is family members relationships. Were in a Protestant family when the father would not seem to be often at home. But he keeps having a predominance in his family’s life. John seems to be seriously scared of him, more than Roy. This is probably due to the fact that Gabriel will not love Ruben as much as he loves Roy, because John is not really his child. Gabriel knows what is incorrect and precisely what is right, because he represents The almighty, he is a Reverend.

Therefore , he should be a great father, nevertheless he surpasses John and Elizabeth. In fact , it seems obvious that they are in danger from the moment Gabriel is back home. “John was standing just before him; it seemed to her amazed vision slightly below him, under his fist, his heavy shoe. The child stared on the man in fascination and terror” (p. 15).

David stands just before Gabriel as if he was ahead of God, one who punishes you for your sins. Elizabeth uses Delilah as a safeguard twice: the very first time when your woman comes down to tell Gabriel what happened, and the second time following she has informed him what she thought about him. Another point is that both these styles the parents overreact to what took place to Roy. They react as if he was going to pass away when he just has a ” light ” scar. The youngsters have got insufficient freedom. The only freedom that they enjoy should be to sit on the fire escape after they father is usually not at your home; if having been home, they might not have any flexibility at all. In summary, this family is characterized by the presence of a wicked father, yet also by excessive reactions, and finally by lack of freedom of the children.

Another key theme is a one of temptations and desprovisto. Roy is tempted to travel and perform at the place where the rockpile stands, which for different reasons.  First coming from all, his mother told him not to take a look. When you prohibit children to complete something, you could be sure they are going to do it, because they do not know why it truly is forbidden. Besides, the rockpile has anything mysterious itself, “it was a strange location to find a mass of all-natural rock jutting out of the ground”(p. 9). Every single child is fascinated by strange things. Once Roy’s good friend come beneath the fire escape to phone him, Roy can’t resist and he leaves. This may symbolically produces the structure of the very first bad thing commited by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

Additionally there is a contrast between John and Roy’s as well as the people outside: everybody outside the house seems to be a sinner, except the church-members: “…below them, men and women, and boys and girls, sinners all, loitered; …”(p. 10). But you will discover sinners in their house too: Elizabeth was pregnant before she met Gabriel: “…her kids and Gabriel’s: Roy, Delilah, Paul. Only John was nameless and a unfamiliar person, living unalterable testimony to his mom’s day in sin”(p. 15). But nobody blames her. John, that is not a sinner, is blamed instead of Elizabeth and of Roy. He is just like Jesus; he’s sacrificed to get the other’s sin. Enticement is present in the story and is represented by the rockpile. Besides, sin is definitely everywhere, even in a Christian house.

Wayne Baldwin uses black American language to plunge us in the actuality of Harlem. His viewers are virtually transported in that street, in this house. He uses a great omnipresent narrator, which means the narrator knows everything. Besides, we know from the beginning what is going to happen: the narrator warns all of us. James Baldwin really takes us by hand and shows us his community, using his own vocabulary.

As a conclusion, this brief story shows us how life could possibly be in a Protestant family residing in Harlem inside the first area of the 20th century. Because of Roy’s fault, that shows the existence of sin in almost every single character, and the cruelty of Gabriel not really considering John as his own boy. The literary style of David Baldwin reinforces the power if perhaps this important text. The one who let us temptation enter in his life is weak, but we are simply human beings, will be we not?

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  • Category: society
  • Words: 847
  • Pages: 3
  • Project Type: Essay

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