James Baldwin talks a lot about suicide as a mechanism to escape the fear that somebody may feel and the disillusion of being an African American at the time Baldwin wrote his novels. From the readings we have done in class we have noticed several instances of suicide, beginning with Go Tell it on the Mountain. Richard, Elizabeth’s one true love commits suicide to escape his defamation as a criminal, he couldn’t handle the injustice that was done to him in being accused of something he did not do.
In If Beale Street Could Talk, Franks fear destroyed his love, which in the end lead to his suicide. Frnak is angry that his son is in prison, he loves his so, but can only be loving once his son gets out of jail. However, he can’t handle the pressure of not being able to do anything and so in a way takes the easy way out.
In Another Country, Baldwin explains Rufus’s suicide as a way of leaping towards his alienation. Rufus is jumping in bad faith, jumping to what he knows because there is nothing else he can really do. He decides to jump and become one with the darkness that is consuming him.