Going to Meet the Man

by

James Baldwin

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Lynching Victim Character Analysis

The lynching victim is a Black man who lived in Jesse’s town when Jesse was a child and was accused of attacking (and, mostly likely, raping) a white woman named Miss Standish. He tries to flee but is captured, castrated, and lynched in front of Jesse, Jesse’s father, Jesse’s mother, and hundreds of cheering white people. His lynching is particularly brutal in that he is lowered into and raised out of fire several times before being castrated, stoned, and burned once more. How Jesse feels in relationship to the lynching victim demonstrates his shift from caring about Black people to dehumanizing them.

Lynching Victim Quotes in Going to Meet the Man

The Going to Meet the Man quotes below are all either spoken by Lynching Victim or refer to Lynching Victim. 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

The man with the knife took the nigger’s privates in his hand, one hand, still smiling, as though he were weighing them. In the cradle of the one white hand, the nigger’s privates seemed as remote as meat being weighed in the scales; but seemed heavier, too, much heavier, and Jesse felt his scrotum tighten; and huge, huge, much bigger than his father’s, flaccid, hairless, the largest thing he had ever seen till then, and the blackest.

Related Characters: Jesse, Lynching Victim
Page Number: 247
Explanation and Analysis:
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Going to Meet the Man PDF

Lynching Victim Character Timeline in Going to Meet the Man

The timeline below shows where the character Lynching Victim 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
Learning Racism Theme Icon
...attached to a tree, and then two Black hands bound together by the chain. The lynching victim is dropped closer to the fire, smoke pours up, and the crowd cheers with delight... (full context)
Sexuality, Pleasure, and Racial Violence Theme Icon
Learning Racism Theme Icon
...fire and the crowd cheers. The fire grows larger, and Jesse thinks he hears the lynching victim scream. Sweat is pouring down the man’s body as he is lowered and raised again.... (full context)
Sexuality, Pleasure, and Racial Violence Theme Icon
Learning Racism Theme Icon
Jesse notices that the lynching victim wants death to come quickly, but the crowd wants it to be slow, and they... (full context)
Sexuality, Pleasure, and Racial Violence Theme Icon
Learning Racism Theme Icon
...strange. He feels a type of joy he has never felt before and regards the lynching victim ’s hanging body as the most beautiful and terrible object he has ever seen. As... (full context)
Sexuality, Pleasure, and Racial Violence Theme Icon
Learning Racism Theme Icon
The lynching victim looks up, and the man with the knife smiles as he takes the hanging man’s... (full context)
Learning Racism Theme Icon
As Jesse’s mother laughs with the other women, Jesse’s father walks them toward the lynching victim ’s dead body. The man’s head is torn apart and caved in, but it is... (full context)
Sexuality, Pleasure, and Racial Violence Theme Icon
Civil Rights, Progress, and Resistance Theme Icon
Learning Racism Theme Icon
Back in the present, thinking of the protest leader in his cell, the lynching victim in the fire, and the knife that was used to kill him, Jesse becomes aroused... (full context)