A Talk to Teachers Essay

1. In the beginning of the second paragraph, Baldwin establishes a respectful aura by talking about the schoolteachers’ way of teaching material and says he is not one himself, creating a sense of respect for those who are and ultimately putting a value on what they teach, just that he doesn’t agree with it. Though he points out that he is rather intimidated by the fact that he is doing such action, he proves himself wrong by continuing with the things he has to say about society and its impacts on a child. Baldwin appealed to ethos mostly in the first paragraph where he says “Everyone in this room is in one way or another aware of that.” Aware of the dangerous times we live in. This sense of danger is common to all of us since we all have experienced it and are in constant touch with it in our everyday lives.

2.The crucial paradox which Baldwin displays is the fact that education for a young child is being manipulated by society. The purpose of education is to create in a person the ability to look at the world for himself. Asking questions and thinking for one self is what education should be all about, though really, what societies wants is a “citizenry which will simply obey the rules of society.” Thus, society is the crucial paradox confronting the nature of education.

4.Personal experience is something fund because he is able to mix emotions and ideals with something he has lived, being able to make his story more reliable. Baldwin has experienced the oppression of the power of a white society, making him aware of what most African American children are going through. He states his feelings toward this with his quote “it’s very hard to relate yourself to this. You don’t know what it means.” Baldwin promotes information about his personal experience by stating that he is a street boy, meaning he has lived through times of oppression and racism.

6.Baldwin views history differently than the view point of white society. He expresses resentment when saying that whites are the ones who “control” society. Baldwin believes during the Reconstruction African Americans still found no freedom. He makes his audience aware that society has been controlled by the white people. He contrasts them with African Americans who are insignificant to a white man’s history.

8.Baldwin expresses anger when he writes “what passes for identity in America is a series of myths about one’s heroic ancestors.” He means that history has been sugarcoated so it sounds nice and pretty when teachers talk about it at school. He uses an example of European migration and states that they didn’t come to America to be part of those who built a new and better nation but because they were suffering from starvation in their homeland. Heroes in Baldwin’s eyes are nothing but cheap myths.

12.Baldwin’s overall tone is commanding and derogatory. He knows his basis and beliefs and clearly states them with no questioning. He neither asks for anyone’s opinion on anything nor provides different sides for the reader. The story is also quite cynical in the sense of constantly attacking society’s teachings and nurturing of children. The ongoing commentary on society and how its principles are decaying make this a cynical and commanding story.