Intersections of Race, Sexuality, and Gender in James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room

  • Shuvro Das Jahangirnagar University
Keywords: Race, gender, sexuality, homosexual, heterosexual, dynamics, power, contemporary, intersection


James Baldwin is one of the greatest artists of the postmodern era. It will not be an overstatement to say that no author has shaped the narrative of race, sexuality, and gender in Black America, apart from Toni Morrison. Giovanni’s Room (1956) is a powerful testament to Baldwin’s creative and technical genius. The oeuvre of this great writer is very contemporary, even though they were written years ago. This paper intends to examine the racial, sexual, and gender intersections of the said novel. With a close look at feminist thinkers like Toril Moi and Sara Ahmed, sexuality and gender biases are overall addressed. This paper puts an effort to decipher how race and sexuality predominate over people in due course. Despite being a homosexual man himself, Baldwin has to paint homosexuals as powerless and akin to darkness or blackness while heterosexuality rules over as the powerful one. Female characters are relatively weak and granted much space or thought. On top of that, inherent racism pervades the novel like a spear. This paper delves deeper into the realm of dynamics and power struggles, vis-à-vis race, sexuality, and gender.


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Author Biography

Shuvro Das, Jahangirnagar University

Shuvro Das is an enthusiast of literarure, culture and human life . He has completed his B.A (Hons.) in English and M.A in Literature in English and Cultural Studies from Jahangirnagar University. His research interests include, but are not limited to- postcolonialism, contemporary and popular literature, Cultural Studies, Gender Studies, Rhetoric and Composition. He is currently working as an independent researcher and has a dream of having a PhD in future.


Primary Source
1. Baldwin, James. Giovanni’s Room. 1956. Vintage, 1984.

Secondary Sources
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6. Philips, Caryl. “Introduction,” Giovanni’s Room, London, Penguin, 2011, p. viii Moi, Toril. What is a Woman?, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 68.
7. Ahmed, Sara. “Collective Feelings”, Theory, Culture & Society, 21, 2, 2004, p 156 Ahmed, Sara. “Collective Feelings,” art.cit.p. 15.
How to Cite
Das, S. “Intersections of Race, Sexuality, and Gender in James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room”. Contemporary Literary Review India, Vol. 8, no. 2, May 2021, pp. 91-00,
Research Papers