Giovanni’s Room

by

James Baldwin

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Joey is David’s childhood friend, and the first male with whom David has a sexual encounter. Spending all of their time together over one summer, David and Joey kiss and explore each other’s bodies one night at a sleepover. The next day, David is horrified by what they’ve done, so he quickly leaves. For the rest of the summer, he spends time with a different group of boys who pick on Joey. The sadder this makes Joey, the meaner David becomes.

Joey Quotes in Giovanni’s Room

The Giovanni’s Room quotes below are all either spoken by Joey or refer to Joey. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Sexual Orientation and Denial Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Gardners Books edition of Giovanni’s Room published in 2001.
Part 1: Chapter 1 Quotes

I was ashamed. The very bed, in its sweet dis­order, testified to vileness. I wondered what Joey’s mother would say when she saw the sheets. Then I thought of my father, who had no one in the world but me, my mother having died when I was little. A cavern opened in my mind, black, full of rumor, suggestion, of half-heard, half-forgotten, half-understood stories, full of dirty words. I thought I saw my future in that cavern. I was afraid. I could have cried, cried for shame and terror, cried for not under­ standing how this could have happened to me, how this could have happened in me. And I made my decision.

Related Characters: David (speaker), Giovanni, Joey
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Giovanni’s Room LitChart as a printable PDF.
Giovanni’s Room PDF

Joey Character Timeline in Giovanni’s Room

The timeline below shows where the character Joey appears in Giovanni’s Room. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Chapter 1
Sexual Orientation and Denial Theme Icon
Gender and Societal Expectations Theme Icon
...was a teenager he spent all of his time one summer with a boy named Joey. While sleeping at Joey’s house one night, David woke up to find his friend searching... (full context)
Sexual Orientation and Denial Theme Icon
Gender and Societal Expectations Theme Icon
Still recalling the aftermath of his sexual encounter with Joey, David remembers how confused he felt. He’d wondered how he could have possibly slept with... (full context)
Sexual Orientation and Denial Theme Icon
Gender and Societal Expectations Theme Icon
...and felt a sense of solidarity with his father. Shortly after his sexual experience with Joey, though, David started drinking heavily and misbehaving, effectively fulfilling Ellen’s prophecy.  (full context)
Sexual Orientation and Denial Theme Icon
Gender and Societal Expectations Theme Icon
...is nothing but deceit and denial. To that end, his decision long ago to leave Joey behind is evidence of his determination to manufacture a life that masks true identity and... (full context)