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Analysis

Literary Devices in Giovanni's Room

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

In short, there are not a lot of symbols in realist fiction, especially in character driven realist fiction told by a first person narrator. One of the assumptions of the realist novelist is that s...

Setting

Place is important in Giovanni's Room. Each place has a different set of associations that makes it David's place, and not just a location that can be thumbed on a map.Brooklyn and the Idea of Home...

Narrator Point of View

Giovanni's Room is told by a man named David, from a house in the south of France. There are few novels better suited to the verb "unfolds" than Giovanni's Room; David's narration moves more or les...

Genre

There's this thing about tragedy. It's called hamartia. It comes from the Ancient Greek, and gets worked out by Aristotle in his Poetics. Hamartia is what is commonly known as the "tragic flaw." Th...

Tone

Since the novel is written in the first person, the "tone" is a question of how David portrays himself and the events of his life. As David confesses to his role in the death of Giovanni, the quest...

Writing Style

Let's just start by taking a sentence as an example. Shortly before going to Giovanni's apartment in Nation, David says,I ached abruptly, intolerably, with a longing to go home; not that hotel, in...

What's Up With the Title?

Giovanni's room is a place. It's a sanctuary. It's the one spot where David and Giovanni feel free to act out their desires hidden from the judging eyes of the world. Yet, the longer that David is...

What's Up With the Epigraph?

"I am the man; I suffered, I was there."– WHITMANThe epigraph comes from Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman's famous poetry collection, first published in 1855. Like Giovanni's Room, Whitman's boo...

What's Up With the Ending?

The end of this book is sad. Here are a few reasons why.Throughout the book, we've been shuttling back and forth between the present tense (David, alone in his room in the south of France) and the...

Plot Analysis

David's youth in Brooklyn and flight to ParisIt is David's first reminiscence that sets the stage for everything else that will happen in the novel. We learn that he grew up without a mother, and t...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Tragedy

David flees BrooklynIn David's first reminiscences, he is a young man in Brooklyn trying to come to terms with the death of his mother and with his own sexuality. After a brief romantic fling with...

Three Act Plot Analysis

One could argue that the point of no return for David came when he decided to sleep with Joey. Yet, after that, David still convinced himself that he could escape the fact that he was gay. He went...

Trivia

When Baldwin first showed Giovanni's Room to his publisher, the publisher said he should burn it because it would destroy his reputation. (Source)In 1949, Baldwin met and fell in love with a young...

Steaminess Rating

The book's representation of gay sex and love was a big reason that it caused such a controversy when it was first published. That said, when it comes to the sexual act itself, David, our narrator,...

Shout Outs

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