Baldwin's Father in Notes of a Native Son Essay

Baldwin's Father in Notes of a Native Son Essay

Length: 1668 words (4.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Playgrounds of Harlem

Narrative is a form of writing used by writers to convey their experiences to an audience. James Baldwin is a renowned author for bringing his experience to literature. He grew up Harlem in the 1940’s and 1950’s, a crucial point in history for America due to the escalading conflict between people of different races marked by the race riots of Harlem and Detroit. This environment that Baldwin grew up in inspires and influences him to write the narrative “Notes of a Native Son,” which is based on his experience with racism and the Jim-Crow Laws. The narrative is about his father and his influence on Baldwin’s life, which he analyzes and compares to his own experiences. When Baldwin comes into contact with the harshness of America, he realizes the problems and conflicts he runs into are the same his father faced, and that they will have the same affect on him as they did his father.

Baldwin’s father died a broken and ruined man on July 29th, 1943. This only paralleled the chaos occurring around him at the time, such as the race riots of Detroit and Harlem which Baldwin describes to be as “spoils of injustice, anarchy, discontent, and hatred.” (63) His father was born in New Orleans, the first generation of “free men” in a land where “opportunities, real and fancied, are thicker than anywhere else.” (63) Although free from slavery, African-Americans still faced the hardships of racism and were still oppressed from any opportunities, which is a factor that led Baldwin’s father to going mad and eventually being committed. Baldwin would also later learn how “…white people would do anything to keep a Negro down.” (68) For a preacher, there was little trust and faith his father ...

... middle of paper ...

...his father had acted the way he did, which caused him to be committed. He was facing the same experiences and the same side-effects his father once felt. However, faced with this dilemma between acceptance and equal power, Baldwin looks to the only man he can trust to help him, his father. He trusts his father because he knows that his father went through the same dilemma he is going through, he has seen the same affects in his father’s rage and hate. However, his father already passed away, and what help that could have been gathered from his father is gone; Baldwin can only piece together his memories of his father’s character and life and compare it to his own to see how the two are really alike.

Works Cited

Baldwin, James. “Notes of a Native Son.” 1955. James Baldwin: Collected Essays. Ed.

Toni Morrison. New York: Library of America, 1998. 63-84.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

James Baldwin's Notes of a Native Son Essay

- James Baldwin's "Notes of a Native Son" demonstrates his complex and unique relationship with his father. Baldwin's relationship with his father is very similar to most father-son relationships but the effect of racial discrimination on the lives of both, (the father and the son) makes it distinctive. At the outset, Baldwin accepts the fact that his father was only trying to look out for him, but deep down, he cannot help but feel that his father was imposing his thoughts and experiences on him....   [tags: James Baldwin Notes Native Son]

Powerful Essays
1020 words (2.9 pages)

The Gift And Notes Of A Native Son Essay

- Poetry Essay The Gift and Notes of a Native Son are written by different authors who not only writes in different styles, but also differ in their background. The author of The Gift Li-Young Lee was born in Djakarta, Indonesia in 1957 to Chinese political exiles with a grandfather who is the first president of the Republic of China. Due to Anti-Chinese Sentiment in Indonesia, Lee was forced to flee to the United States in 1964. Lee then attended the University of Pittsburgh where he gained the inspiration to write poems, many depicting parts of his life....   [tags: Family, Writing, Experience, American films]

Powerful Essays
1163 words (3.3 pages)

Hatred in Notes of a Native Son Essay

- The Destructive Nature of Hatred Hatred for white society was a common sentiment among the black community during the 1950s. These feelings were expressed through different mediums, ranging from music and art, to the written word. But James Baldwin, a popular black writer during this time period, does not harp on this subject. Instead of preaching about his hatred for white America, Baldwin utilizes his narrative and analysis techniques to illustrate the destructive nature of the black society’s hatred for white society in “Notes of a Native Son”....   [tags: James Baldwin]

Powerful Essays
1172 words (3.3 pages)

Baldwin's Notes of a Native Son Essay

- In My Father’s Eyes The essay “Notes of a Native Son” takes place at a very volatile time in history. The story was written during a time of hate and discrimination toward African Americans in the United States. James Baldwin, the author of this work is African American himself. His writing, along with his thoughts and ideas were greatly influenced by the events happening at the time. At the beginning of the essay, Baldwin makes a point to mention that it was the summer of 1943 and that race riots were occurring in Detroit....   [tags: James Baldwin]

Powerful Essays
2257 words (6.4 pages)

Private and Public Notes of a Native Son Essay

- The Private and Public Notes of a Native Son The middle of the twentieth century saw the height of the civil rights struggle of African Americans. Amid this tumultuous era rose up a generation of prominent African American writers, and among them was James Baldwin. In “Notes of a Native Son,” an essay that he wrote more than a decade after his father died, Baldwin recalls and reflects on his troubled interaction with his father, a man whom he has hated all his life. His vivid narration of his father and his personal encounters around the time his father died reveals the evolution of his view on the racial issues in America....   [tags: James Baldwin]

Powerful Essays
1570 words (4.5 pages)

Narrative and Opinion in Notes of a Native Son Essay

- Choices James Baldwin is considered to be one of the great writers of modern time. There are many characteristics of his writing that could be used to show his talent but the one that is most often cited is his ability to interweave narrative and opinion seamlessly into his essays. One example of this ability is in his “Notes of a Native Son” essay. He interweaves narrative of his father and his death with his opinions about the relationship between blacks and whites at that time. James Baldwin uses contrasting ideas such as public vs....   [tags: James Baldwin]

Powerful Essays
1928 words (5.5 pages)

Baldwin's Effects of Narration and Analysis in Notes of a Native Son Essay

- Baldwin’s Effects of Narration and Analysis in “Notes of a Native Son” Personal stories and descriptions of major events are narrated throughout James Baldwin’s works as he analyzes the nature of the relationship between white and black America. The marriage of narration and analysis are especially evident in Baldwin’s essay, “Notes of a Native Son.” As Baldwin describes his father and their relationship until his father’s death, he simultaneously comments about the relationship between white and black America....   [tags: James Baldwin]

Powerful Essays
1817 words (5.2 pages)

James Baldwin's Narration and Analysis in Notes of a Native Son Essay

- Experiences There is a very thin line between love and hate in James Baldwin’s essay “Notes of a Native Son.” Throughout this essay James Baldwin continually makes references to life and death, blacks and whites, and love and hate. He uses his small experiences to explain a much larger, more complicated picture of life. From the first paragraph of the essay to the last paragraph, Baldwin continually makes connections on his point of view on life; beginning with the day his father died, to the time that his father was buried....   [tags: James Baldwin]

Powerful Essays
1244 words (3.6 pages)

Baldwin's Insights of History in Notes of a Native Son Essay

- Private Insight into Public History James Baldwin had a talent of being able to tell a personal story and relate it to world events. His analysis is a rare capability that one can only acquire over an extensive lifetime. James Baldwin not only has that ability, but also the ability to write as if he is conversing with the reader. One of his most famous essays, “Notes of a Native Son,” is about his father’s death. It includes the events that happened prior to and following his father’s death....   [tags: James Baldwin]

Powerful Essays
1733 words (5 pages)

Lessons Learned from Notes to a Native Son Essay

- Realizing What Society Really Is Born in 1924, James Baldwin grew up in Harlem during harsh racism and the infamous Jim Crow laws. In addition to being surrounded by hate crimes and riots, Baldwin had a rough relationship with his father, who died when Baldwin was only nineteen. Twelve years after his father?s death, Baldwin wrote an essay, entitled ?Notes of a Native Son,. which described the events that took place around the time of his father?s death. Being one of his trademark talents, he also inserted periods of analysis while narrating the story....   [tags: James Baldwin]

Powerful Essays
1715 words (4.9 pages)