James Baldwin Writing Styles in Giovanni's Room

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Point of View

The story is told in the first-person perspective and alternates between the present tense and past tense. Whenever David is speaking in the present tense, he is narrating what is happening on the day Giovanni is scheduled to be executed. The past tense is used in his reflections on the roots of his homosexuality and the events that led up to this relationship with Giovanni and its dissolution. The effect of this alternate viewpoint is to place all the events in the context of the book's ultimate tragedy, for the reader knows from the first chapter that Giovanni is going to be executed, though his exact crime and the reason behind the crime are not revealed until the last chapter.

As David is in the midst of great psychological turmoil, the reader ought not to necessarily trust everything he says. For example, the early chapters could...

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This section contains 1,158 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Giovanni's Room Study Guide
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