The story centers on two step-brothers, Roy and John, and a neighborhood rockpile they are forbidden from playing near. When Roy disobeys this order, he is badly cut. But rather than being punished for disobedience, Roy is coddled by his father, while John is blamed for leading Roy astray. Though Roy and John are close to each other, and to their mother, Baldwin also hints that John does not get along with Gabriel, his stepfather and the biological father of Roy, Delilah and Paul.
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It first appeared in his collection Going to Meet the Man. The story concerns two boys, Roy and his older brother John. The rock pile is a natural formation across the street from where the boys live.
Because of their strict, religious upbringing, they are not allowed to play on the rock pile. After school and on the weekends, Roy and John can see the other boys from the neighborhood playing and fighting on the rock pile. One Sunday, the boys call to Roy. Tempted, he tells John that he will return in five minutes, but John is not paying attention.
When he does look up, he sees Roy at the top of the pile, just before a tin can hits Roy in the forehead, causing him to bleed. Instead, his father babies him, stating instead that John is in trouble. His stepfather was a strict minister and Baldwin was both black and gay, leaving him alienated from the larger segments of American society.
African American Literature research papers look at the great works of literature that have come from the eras of the Harlem renaissance and the Civil Rights Era. How to Write an Essay on The Rockpile by James Baldwin This page is designed to show you how to write a research project on the topic you see here.
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The Rockpile (short story)
Critics believe that it may have been written much earlier, when Baldwin was working on his novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain. The short story draws on the same pool of characters from the novel, and the main incident in "The Rockpile" is similar to a scene from the novel. In "The Rockpile," which takes place in Depression-era Harlem, John, the illegitimate son of Elizabeth Grimes, is unable to stop his brother, Roy, from getting into a fight on a rockpile with some other African-American boys. Roy gets hurt, and John gets blamed by his stepfather, although Elizabeth faces her husband and sticks up for John.
What Is the Exposition of 'The Rockpile'?
The Rockpile by James Baldwin