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The Rockpile

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by

Alastair Borillo

on 9 March 2015

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Transcript of The Rockpile

Modern Short Story Project
The Rockpile
By: James Baldwin

By: Alastair, Hank, Daniel, David
Modernism Characteristics
Symbols and Themes
Authors Background
James Baldwin
Born August 2, 1924
Died December 1, 1987
Never knew real dad
Step-Father was a baptist minister
14-16 he served as a youth minister
He was open about his relationships with men and women
Synopsis
Elizabeth- Mother
Gabriel- Father
Roy- Elizabeth and Gabriel son
John- Elizabeth elder illegitimate son
Delilah- Gabriel and Elizabeth daughter
Paul- Elizabeth and Gabriel son
Sister McCandless
Setting
Bronx
Apartment
Rockpile
Slums
Symbols
Themes
Violence in Harlem
Alienation/loneliness
Historical Influence
Plot
John and Roy watch kids play on the rockpile, and they are forbidden to play on the rockpile. Roy breaks the rule and goes down to play on the rockpile with his friends. Roy tells John not to tell on him. On the rockpile Roy gets into a fight and gets hurt. When The father comes home he blames John for letting Roy go down and not stopping him.
The rock pile (Carefree youth)
Sister McCandless
Relationship with Step-Father
Step-Father was a preacher
Treated James harsher than his other siblings
Similar to how Gabriel treats John
The Questioning of Christianity:
Father, Gabriel, is a threatening character despite the fact that he is a priest
Dialogue
Symbolism:
The story is an allegory symbolizing the violence in Harlem at the time.

Plot explores uncertainty of John during his decision making regarding his brothers actions
Close Read
"When he looked up again he did not know how much time had passed, but now there was a gang fight on the rockpile. Dozens of boys fought each other in the harsh sun: climbing up the rocks and battling hand to hand, scuffed shoes sliding on the slippery rock; filling the bright air with curses and jubilant cries."
Pg 503 Baldwin
Full transcript