The self-destructive qualities of bigotry are most vividly evoked in the one novel Baldwin wrote that contained no black characters. In Giovanni’s Room , when David falls in love with Giovanni, and they move in together, he feels alive, free, despite his sexual confusion and shame. When his fiancée Hella returns to Paris, he abruptly leaves Giovanni and renounces their love. “What kind of life can two men have together, anyway?” As he makes his shallow arguments, denying his own love, he feels himself becoming robotic, cruel, cold—not only to Giovanni but also to Hella. “All that had once delighted me seemed to have turned sour on my stomach,” he says. “I think that I have never been more frightened in my life…. Something was gone; the astonishment, the power, and the joy were gone, the peace was gone.”
Longer essays may also contain an introductory page that defines words and phrases of the essay's topic. Most academic institutions require that all substantial facts, quotations, and other porting material in an essay be referenced in a bibliography or works cited page at the end of the text. This scholarly convention helps others (whether teachers or fellow scholars) to understand the basis of facts and quotations the author uses to support the essay's argument and helps readers evaluate to what extent the argument is supported by evidence, and to evaluate the quality of that evidence. The academic essay tests the student's ability to present their thoughts in an organized way and is designed to test their intellectual capabilities.