All of Our Names has a very strong theme and parallel between the two plots of being an outsider and what the implications are of being a very singular, visible outsider. Much of the Helen chapters are wrapped in the changing, complicated relationship that Helen and Isaac have but, two specific moments stick out to highlight that Isaac is not “supposed” to be there or wanted. When Isaac arrives, he immediately goes to the library and a library begins to approach them. Isaac turns and leaves, Helen, “waited until the librarian had almost reached me, before following Isaac out: to run after him, in our town, at that time, would have given the wrong impression.” (16). Being an outsider in a racist area deprives Isaac of the rights that he should have a student at the university and as we find that he is an avid reader, could affect his quality of life. Helen and Issac’s trip to the diner also shows the risks of being an outsider, bringing violence to the characters who are out of their usual roles or routines in life.
Another example is from when Langston is searching through newspapers to find the news on if the government was looking for him after touching off a protest. Upon finding an article thinly veiled to seek him out Langston finds, “I was the only obvious foreigner, and I could imagine how the men there might look at me if I were to buy that particular paper.” (p. 88). Again this shows being the foreigner in a situation as well as being out of place as a revolutionary movement leader brings a character to be affected by violence.