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Reflective Entry: “Notes of a Native Son” by James Baldwin Essay

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Updated: Apr 8th, 2019

Reading the “Notes of a Native Son” from a non-fiction book Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin, it becomes obvious that the author tries to dwell upon many different points devoted to his father to make sure that if he speaks about the problem, if he splashes his feelings hatred and despair in relation to his father is going to disappear.

Even though these son’s relation to father is explained through the whole chapter, the main purpose of the discussion is the attempt of James Baldwin to understand the role of black people in formation of America as the country which we are able to see it now.

The chapter presents the story of a boy who was brought up in a society of black people and who was driven to New Jersey to get education. Reading some passages, it seemed impossible for people to behave that way. However, looking at the modern society when some people seem to be higher in range just because they think so, it is obvious that the history is really important.

James Baldwin tells about the cases when he came to New Jersey with the purpose to get education and where he could never think he would be treated as a slave who was unable to do what he wanted, who was unable to visit the places he wanted and who was banished for that society.

James Baldwin writes that no matter where he came he “was always being forced to leave, silently, or with mutual imprecations” (Baldwin, 1955, p. 93). The author says that such position of affairs affected him greatly and in some time he became afraid of walking in the street. Then, after being fired for several times, he began to think that there was something wrong with him particularly.

Returning to the problem of the place of the Afro-Americans in the life of America, it may be stated that the white supremacy during the 1940-1950 played an important role in the formation of the country. Many black people who wanted to study and wanted to work were rejected just because they were of different color.

The prejudiced relation to black people caused many African-American become “bitter” (Baldwin, 1955, p. 89). An attentive reader may notice that this word is repeated for several times. The author uses this word when he described the character of his father.

Therefore, it may be concluded that Baldwin’s father became that irritated, angry and bitter, as his son identifies him because he managed to come though all that attitude as his son experienced.

The theme of the chapter is the son’s remembering of his father, his actions and behavior, however, the main idea the author wants to deliver is hidden. The author wants to ask whether the role of the black people in American society that great that most of people still preoccupied with personal significance and others feel personal nonentity.

The question which should be asked is what is the place of African-Americans in the formation of the country? What would be if during the 1940-1950 black people were not discriminated? How would black and white live now if the process of white superiority were not completed? These are the questions which arose in mind while reading the chapter “Notes of a Native Son” by James Baldwin.

Reference List

Baldwin, J. (1955). Notes of a Native Son. In J. Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son (pp. 85-114). Boston: The Beacon Press.

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IvyPanda. "Reflective Entry: “Notes of a Native Son” by James Baldwin." April 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/reflective-entry-notes-of-a-native-son-by-james-baldwin/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Reflective Entry: “Notes of a Native Son” by James Baldwin." April 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/reflective-entry-notes-of-a-native-son-by-james-baldwin/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Reflective Entry: “Notes of a Native Son” by James Baldwin'. 8 April.

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