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This is a reaction to an article by James Baldwin on the issue of American identity. Being American according to Baldwin is a complex fate. He views America as a unique nation whose achievements are quite unique from other nations. The author claims to have left America for Europe in search of his real identity instead of just being "merely negro." The author depicts America as a nation with a big problem with the colour of its people. Reading through the article one gets the idea that colour problem acts as a barrier to work of art such as writing.
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Baldwin in this article brings out contradictory views about America. While at one moment the author suggests that America does not gave a chance to artists to rise up just like in Europe, the author seem to indicate that America makes it possible for people to know each other pretty well but becomes aware of this once they are out of America. One may get the feeling that this might be some of the reasons which make it hard being American.
The author uses a writer to bring out the difference between being an American and a European. The author brings out the picture that Europe is a place where a writer gets the opportunity to fully explore his/her writing talent. This is in contrast to America where a writer does not mean anything especially when the case is a Negro writer. In this manner, America is viewed as a place which does not only provide opportunity but also hinders talents from sprouting. The author accredits this to the tradition that is held by America. These traditions, seemingly, make it very complicated for one to be American. The author depicts America has a place which has great opportunities which can only shine out of it.