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Giovanni's Room

Giovanni's Room


by James Baldwin

Giovanni's Room Isolation Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

People are too various to be treated so lightly. I am too various to be trusted. If this were not so I would not be alone in this house tonight. Hella would not be on the high seas. And Giovanni would not be about to perish, sometime between this night and this morning, on the guillotine. (1.1.5)

What does David mean when he says that he is "various"? How is David various? What events in David's past have made him such a mysterious man, so hard to pin down? Why does this condemn him to loneliness?

Quote #2

We had our arms around each other. It was like holding in my hand some rare, exhausted, nearly doomed bird which I had miraculously happened to find. I was very frightened, I am sure he was frightened too, and we shut our eyes. (1.1.18)

Even as David and Joey embrace each other, how does their fear keep both of them very alone and far apart? Do you think David sensed at the time that their relationship was "doomed" or do you think this is something he is layering on from his vantage point in the past?

Quote #3

What happened was that, all unconscious of what this ennui meant, I wearied of the motion, wearied of the joyless seas of alcohol, wearied of the blunt, bluff, hearty, and totally meaningless friendships, wearied of wandering through the forests of desperate women, wearied of the work which fed me only in the most brutally literal sense. (1.1.76)

What changes in David's circumstances have made him recognize his "ennui" (boredom), his "meaningless friendships"? Why does the women's "desperation" make David himself feel lonely?

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