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Question 1 Why is Baldwin’s concept of aloneness important to his discussion of the artist’s situation? Baldwin discusses a rather interesting and fascinating concept of aloneness as applied to the theory of artist’s development and existence. People were always interested in the deep and sophisticated aspects of human nature. The author points out that common individuals are not typically recognized as being happy if they turn to a secluded state of their lives. In other words, members of the society have their duties (e.g family, work) they have to perform on the daily basis. The sole nature of these chores constitutes a dependency on the other members of structural entity due to the complexity of tasks to be performed. An artist, on the other hand, represents a somewhat distant or even remote part of this society. He or she cannot function in strict accordance with the rules and regulations imposed by the community because a true virtuoso always seeks unknown and unseen paths in the everyday existence.
Aloneness allows this person to fully concentrate on the inner-self and to discover the important and key matters that contribute to this individual’s essence of creation. Baldwin seems to separate the artist from the other members of the society by assigning a very specific and difficult role of self-improvement and self-discovery. Question 2 What claims does Baldwin make for the artist? Why is the artist a disturber of the peace? Baldwin accentuates the fact of artist being completely different from the rest of the people (even politicians, scientists, and educators). The author argues that an artist has been given a very specific role in this society- a task of making changes and questioning the rationale behind every logical statement.
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Baldwin states that people and societies as a whole were always famous for creating standards and rules for the others to obey. Individuals need a strong sense of belonging in order to form a definite form of identity and being. These boundaries and standards allow people to act accordingly, without any fear of placing themselves in a vulnerable position. What is more, members of society always have a strong bulwark or bastion that serves as their primary and immediate defense in times of trouble- they have their rules, which they abide by at all times. An artist is often seen as peace destroyer because he or she starts questioning the very nature or foundation of such principles. An artist is looking for the truth that can not be allocated using standard measures or techniques. This individual is to be beyond the ‘mundane’ sense of being due to the greater task of finding the meaning of existence and human development. Question 3 In this essay does Baldwin practice what he preaches? Cite examples that validate your opinion. Baldwin elaborates on a very contradictory as well as bold topic of society limits and groups’ over-concentration on their superficial tasks of work, career, and family. In other words, the author challenges the set standards practiced by government representatives and politicians in a very sophisticated but truly stinging way. On the one hand, Baldwin places artist in a somewhat secluded position that is separated from the rest of the society and, thus, usually perceived as an inferior or disadvantageous one. On the other hand, the author clearly favors the artist as opposed to those who are unable to sacrifice their complicated lives for the sake of discovering the greater meaning of life. By openly challenging the society’s ways, he practices what he teaches because he places himself on the other side of the barricade of groups and member of the public and commonwealth. Question 4 and 5 Did you gain any new insights? Was the essay interesting? It’s always very interesting to realize an alternative ways of observing the simple or basic concepts of the human existence. This article gives an insight on the different method of perception of the matters that take place on the regular basis. For instance, most representatives of American society do not question rules because they were designed to serve the society and to keep it from self-destructive forces present in each and every individual. Baldwin, nevertheless, argues that challenging such laws and practices presents a great opportunity of discovering the true meaning behind these sets of regulations.
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