Nameof Student

Parnellin Blues for Mister Charlie

Bluesfor Mister Charlieis the second play by James Baldwin and was written in 1964. Its plotcomprises of three acts, and in all of them, the audience canexperience the traits and situations of different charactersincluding Parnell. Parnell is portrayed in the play as a newspapereditor who was caught up in the racial polarization that was takingplace in the community at that time. This raises different emotionstowards the character who has no racial preferences and interactsfreely with the blacks. He even fell in love with Juanita, a blackgirl that another character (Richard) had planned to elope during theday of his killing. From the play, it is evident that Parnelldeserves our sympathy especially due to the prominent racialpolarization depicted in the play.

Parnellwas caught up in the dilemma of racism. It is very sympathetic thatdespite trying to fight racism and deciding to be as decent aspossible, Parnell still faced difficulties when interacting with boththe whites and the blacks due to his neutral stand on the issue. WhenLyle tells Parnell that it would be hard for him to mix with theblacks, Parnell tries to correct him by offering an example of hisson marrying a Chinese. He even asks if Lyle would kill the son forsuch a situation, which indicates how Parnell was hurt by thesituation where people would be discriminated based on skin color.

Parnellfeelings are hurt by the fact that he belongs to a different skincolor despite his neutral stand on the issue of race. The character,who was white, had a great love for a Negro girl called Juanita. He,however, displayed an inexpressible suffering when the girl’smother interrupted their relationship. From the explanation byParnell, one can note that the girl’s mother reacted in athreatening manner towards him. This makes one to sympathize with thecharacter, as his will was interrupted based on skin color.

Itis also sympathetic on how the issue of race penetrated intoreligious grounds. Parnell is saddened by the fact that Meridian, areligious person, is also rooted in the issues of race. In hisstatement, “You used to say that your people were all the people ofthe world,” as shown y Baldwin (1964) indicates his surprise on thestand of Meridian on race. He feels disappointed by the fact thateven religious individuals can discriminate other people based onmost basic terms such as the color of their skin. He even tellsMeridian, “There’s something in your tone I’ve never heardbefore – rage – maybe hatred” (Baldwin, 1964). The statementdisplays the betrayal that Parnell faced from the religious leaderwhom he perceived to be a good person before. One can also feel sorryfor Parnell for being betrayed by an individual that he would leastexpect to do such a thing.

Toconclude, it is evident from the play that Parnell’s stand on theissue of race puts him in a sympathetic position. He faces betrayalfrom both races presented in the play. Some of the challenges that hefaced include the fact that his love for a black woman wascompromised, and the fact that even the church was divided on racialgrounds. At one point, Christianity is linked with racism.


Baldwin,J. (1964). Bluesfor Mister Charlie.New York: Dell Pub.