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Free Study Guide for Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin BookNotes

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DECEMBER 14, 1959


The author resumes his white identity at the end of his project. But instead of relief, he feels strangely sad to leave the Negro world after having shared it so long. He feels almost as though he is fleeing from the Negroís pain and heartache.


Todayís jotting is a short and sharp description of the authorís emotions -- his acute nostalgia at leaving behind his Negro self. It is also a mirror of the authorís deep sincerity, as he honestly acknowledges that his re-entry into the white world, is in fact an escape from the Negro world, with all its constant fears and insecurities and painful trials and tribulations.

DECEMBER 15, 1959


The author flies back home after seven weeks of being a Negro and en route dreads the task of telling truths that would make him and his family the target of all the hate groups. His wife and children come to receive him at the airport. Amidst the joy of reunion with his family, there is fear and hate for the racists.


Todayís entry again describes the sharp contrasting and conflicting emotions of the author on his return home. There is the intensely joyful excitement at seeing his wife and children after seven weeks. Yet amidst the marvelous jubilation of reunion, the hostility and bigotry from which he has just come, also keeps recurring in his mind. Therefore that night at home, though relieved and relaxed, he cannot forget his nerve-wracking experiences as a Negro. The memories of these experiences are still too sharp and raw inside. This is an example of the authorís skill in describing feelings.

JANUARY 2, 1960


The owner of the magazine Sepia, Mr. Levitan, which had paid for the authorís trip, allows him to back out of his contract, because it can cause trouble and he can get killed. But the author insists on going ahead and telling his story to the world, whatever the risks. They decide that this article will be published in the month of March.


Todayís entry in the diary is once again about the authorís courage under fire. In spite of the risks involved, the author decides to publish his story in the Negro magazine. The reason why he chooses this particular magazine is because it is widely read by Southern Negroes. He hopes that reading this article will give the Negroes some hope - hope that there is somebody who is sympathetic towards their condition and soon the whole world will understand their problems. The owner of the magazine tries to warn Griffin about the risks involved in publishing his article and gives him then option of withdrawing from the project. Griffin refuses to change his mind. This is once again an example of the authorís iron determination to go ahead with the truth, even at great risk to himself, his family, his life and his livelihood.


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