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Giovanni's Room

Giovanni's Room


by James Baldwin

Giovanni's Room Passivity Quotes

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

Quote #1

I may be drunk by morning but that will not do any good. I shall take the train to Paris anyway. The train will be the same, the people, struggling for comfort and, even, dignity on the straight-backed, wooden, third-class seats will be the same, and I will be the same. (1.1.2)

What does David mean when he says that everything will be "the same"? Does David want things to stay the same or does he want them to change? Is David afraid of change? What would David have to do to bring about a change in his life?

Quote #2

I was already with Giovanni. I had asked her to marry me before she went away to Spain; and she laughed and I laughed but that, somehow, all the same, made it more serious for me, and I persisted; and then she said she would have to go away and think about it. (1.1.4)

Why do you think that David asked Hella to marry him? Why would the fact that they both laughed make it more serious for him? What was David trying to prove by proposing to Hella?

Quote #3

He did not come to see me. I would have been very happy to see him if he had, but the manner of my leavetaking had begun a constriction which neither of us knew how to arrest. (1.1.20)

Try to come up with some other ways to describe the "constriction" that David says took place between him and Joey. What would he have had to do to overcome the "constriction"? Did he really not know how to arrest it or did he just not want to?

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