Going to Meet the Man

by

James Baldwin

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Grace is a white Southern woman married to Jesse. Jesse is unable to stay erect while having sex with her and wishes he could ask her to do what he would ask a “nigger girl” to do, but he can’t because she’s his wife. Grace tells him to go to sleep and falls asleep herself. After reflecting on memories of racial violence, Jesse wakes her up to have aggressive sex with her and Grace moans, but it is unclear if she wants to be having sex or is another victim of his sexual compulsions.

Grace Quotes in Going to Meet the Man

The Going to Meet the Man quotes below are all either spoken by Grace or refer to Grace. 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:
Sexuality, Pleasure, and Racial Violence Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Going to Meet the Man published in 1995.
Going to Meet the Man Quotes

This was his wife. He could not ask her to do just a little thing for him, just to help him out, just for a little while, the way he could ask a nigger girl to do it. He lay there, and he sighed. The image of a black girl caused a distant excitement in him, like a far-away light[.]

Related Characters: Jesse, Grace
Page Number: 229
Explanation and Analysis:

He thought of the boy in the cell; he thought of the man in the fire; he thought of the knife and grabbed himself and stroked himself and a terrible sound, something between a high laugh and a howl, came out of him and dragged his sleeping wife up on one elbow. She stared at him in a moonlight which had now grown cold as ice. He thought of the morning and grabbed her, laughing and crying, crying and laughing, and he whispered, as he stroked her, as he took her, “Come on, sugar, I’m going to do you like a nigger, just like a nigger, come on, sugar, and love me just like you’d love a nigger.”

Related Characters: Jesse (speaker), Grace
Page Number: 249
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Going to Meet the Man LitChart as a printable PDF.
Going to Meet the Man PDF

Grace Character Timeline in Going to Meet the Man

The timeline below shows where the character Grace appears in Going to Meet the Man. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Going to Meet the Man
Sexuality, Pleasure, and Racial Violence Theme Icon
Grace asks Jesse what’s wrong and he says he isn’t sure, that he might be tired.... (full context)
Sexuality, Pleasure, and Racial Violence Theme Icon
Civil Rights, Progress, and Resistance Theme Icon
Grace tells Jesse to go to sleep since he has a hard day tomorrow and he... (full context)
Sexuality, Pleasure, and Racial Violence Theme Icon
Turning toward Grace, Jesse thinks that he would like to be buried inside her and not have to... (full context)
Sexuality, Pleasure, and Racial Violence Theme Icon
Civil Rights, Progress, and Resistance Theme Icon
...all over with that peculiar excitement.” He then explains (more to himself now than to Grace) how he yelled at the man to stop not just the singing, but to stop... (full context)
Sexuality, Pleasure, and Racial Violence Theme Icon
Civil Rights, Progress, and Resistance Theme Icon
Learning Racism Theme Icon
...becomes aroused and starts to touch himself, letting out a howling sound as he drags Grace awake. She stares at him and, laughing and crying, he starts having sex with her,... (full context)