Lessons Learned from Notes to a Native Son Essay

Lessons Learned from Notes to a Native Son Essay

Length: 1715 words (4.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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. These insights, often reflections on his life and actions, illustrate the importance of learning to truly understand the society in which one lives in order to react appropriately to one?s current situation in life.

James Baldwin noted at the beginning of his essay that he really began thinking about his life and his father?s life when his father passed (63). Just like most rebellious teenagers, he did not always understand his father?s intentions when he was being warned about drugs, white people in general, and other activities that he was specifically warned about and kept away from. Arguments were of course inevitable, and their relationship worsened because James Baldwin kept silent. In fact, the one time that he can remember when they had a real chat together was when his father asked him if he really wanted to write instead of being a preacher, like his father (80). Looking back on his childhood, James Baldwin realized that he did not really take any time to get to know his own father, and once he died it was too late.

Baldwin also added some analysis about father and son relationships, noting that ?It seems to be typical of Ameri...

... middle of paper ...

...is a commonplace? (84). Back in the forties and fifties, and still today, life isn?t fair, and there still exists strong hatred between certain groups of people. Denial of the way society was or is prevents people from taking control of their lives and growing to become better people despite their respective situation. Baldwin described that personal growth as a continuing fight against those injustices by pushing for complete equality amongst everyone in one?s own life (84). Hatred and discrimination still exist today, but because so many people fought for equality over the past sixty years, changes have occurred to make the pain of realizing how society really was, and how it has become, more bearable.

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 »

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]

Better 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]

Better Essays
1172 words (3.3 pages)

Baldwin's Notes to a Native Son Essay

- “If the relationship of father to son could really be reduced to biology, the whole earth would blaze with the glory of fathers and sons.” This quotation by James Arthur Baldwin helps to bring about one of the main points of his essay, “Notes of a Native Son.” Baldwin’s composition was published in 1955, and based mostly around the World War II era. This essay was written about a decade after his father’s death, and it reflected back on his relationship with his father. At points in the essay, Baldwin expressed hatred, love, contempt, and pride for his father, and Baldwin broke down this truly complex relationship in his analysis....   [tags: James Baldwin]

Better Essays
1705 words (4.9 pages)

Notes of a Native Son Essay

- Everyone Likes a Good Story By nature, human beings like stories. Sea captains tell of ferocious storms, travelers describe exotic places, friends recall good times spent together, and people listen. Thoughts are a different issue- fewer people will listen because there is simply less to get excited about, especially if the listener can?t relate. James Baldwin, author of many novels and essays, including ?Notes of a Native Son,. has many thoughts to share, and keeps the reader interested while he shares them....   [tags: James Baldwin]

Better Essays
1377 words (3.9 pages)

Baldwin's Perspective in Notes of a Native Son Essay

- James Baldwin Born in Harlem in 1924, James Baldwin grew to be a complex man with many aspects. As an avid reader as a child, Baldwin soon developed the skills to become one of the most talented and strong writers of his time. His first novel was written in 1953 and was called “Go Tell it On the Mountain” and received critical acclaim. More great work from this novelist, essayist, and playwright were to come, one of which was “Notes of a Native Son,” which was first published in Harper’s Magazine in 1955 and was also first known as “Me and My House.” In “Notes of a Native Son,” Baldwin exercises his many talents as an essayist in how he manages to weave narratives and arguments...   [tags: James Baldwin]

Better Essays
1684 words (4.8 pages)

Baldwin's Father in Notes of a Native Son Essay

- 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....   [tags: James Baldwin]

Better Essays
1668 words (4.8 pages)

Public versus Personal Reference in Notes of a Native Son Essay

- Stand Back Up (unsteadily: Tumbling revision) Throwing scalding hot water in someone’s face on a day to day basis will eventually cause a reaction. James Baldwin decided to throw back physically in his life, and with the manner in which he writes. As I'm sure you do not know, James Baldwin was an African-American writer. He is widely thought of as one of the greatest American writers of the twentieth century. He has composed a fascinating account of living as a black man in America, “Notes of a Native Son,” which was first published in 1955....   [tags: James Baldwin]

Free Essays
1496 words (4.3 pages)

James Baldwin is an Epic Poet Essay

- James Baldwin; Epic Poet When studying humanity through the arts and literature one can?t help but notice that every civilization has a famous narrative or an epic. The epic marks the beginning of classical civilization in that it was the first form of literature to be written down from oral tradition. The epic tells of the glory of a society, of its. founding from the ruin of another or tells us of the experiences of a beloved hero. The common trait of any epic poem or narrative lies in the tragic hero, or the main character of the story....   [tags: Notes of a Native Son]

Better Essays
2020 words (5.8 pages)

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]

Better Essays
1020 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on Native Son - The Metamorphosis of Bigger Thomas

-   In the turn of the century, the time of Bigger Thomas, the roles of black men and women in America were heavily restricted compared to the white population. Black people were also still treated unequally and dealt with as ignorant fools. Richard Wright's novel, Native Son, embraces this knowledge and follows the reaction of one angry man as he manages the delights of his exploits and the consequences of his deeds. Challenging pressures and stereotypes, Bigger believes he understands the world and that he is completely in control, unperturbed by anything or anyone....   [tags: Native Son Essays]

Better Essays
2366 words (6.8 pages)