Bluest Eye and Giovanni's Room
There are several novels written by two of the worlds most critically acclaimed literary writers of the 20th century James Baldwin and Toni Morrison. But I would like to focus on just two of their works, James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room, and Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye. In these novels in some way the authors suggest a theme of how the past is rooted in the present. Now each of these authors shows this in a different way. This is because of the contrast in their story outline and the structures of their novels. Yet they both seem to suggest that if the past is not clear then the present or the future can not be clear as well. One can not run from ones past, it will only dictate ones future.
I would like to start with James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room. From the very beginning of the novel we see this man standing in the window of his apartment building in France. He begins to reminisce about the things that he had done and the past that had caused his present reality. From this very moment the author begins to suggest to us that something about this man's past is relevant to the plot or story about to be told. The man, whose name is David, tells us about this person named Giovanni, and how he was about to face the guillotine. David also tells us about how his fiancée Hella had left him. And how he told her that he loved her. He begins to go back in time to explain to us how he met and asked Hella to marry him, as well as to tell us that he lived with Giovanni. So what was this dilemma that Giovanni was about to face or had already faced. David dose not tell us at this point, instead he starts to tell us about this guy named Joey who was once his best friend, until that night. The night that he began to feel different for him. He says: I laughed and grabbed his head as I had done God knows how many
times before, when I was playing with him or when he had annoyed
me.But this time when I touched him something happened in him and
in me which made this touch different from any touch either of us had
ever known. And he did not resist, as he usually did, but lay where I
had pulled him, against my chest. And I realized that my heart was
beating in an awful way and that Joey was trembling against me and
the light in the room was very bright and hot. I started to move and to
make some kind of joke but Joey mumbled something and I put my head
down to hear. Joey raised his head as I lowered mine and we kissed, as
it were, by accident.(Giovanni's room Pp. 13)
He goes on to explain how Joey and him slept together that night, how it made him feel, how frightened he really was. He also expresses to us the sham that it made he feel about his manhood. This would be one of the most rooted problem of his past that would hunt his future. And it was not like he could tell his father, for David's father was a man who had images of what manhood should be, especially for his son. David had no one to help him...