2) In paragraph 5, summarize how Baldwin describes the relationship between blacks and whites. Specifically, look at the metaphor of the universe. What is the cost of these racial politics for whites? And for blacks?
Baldwin begins the body of his essay by familiarizing the reader with the situation he is currently entangled in. His father has just died and it is the day of his funeral. Baldwin cleverly intertwines other details into this short introduction. He introduces the importance of Life and Death here. He informs the reader that on the same day of his father’s death, his youngest child was born. Life and Death are two very powerful words that employ incredibly symbolic meanings. Life and Death are direct opposites of each other immediately suggesting the distance Baldwin feels from his father at the beginning of the essay. Baldwin connects to the theme of life, because obviously he is the one who is alive, but it isn’t until later that he will realize that he will continue to live through his father. His father connects to the theme of death because he is dead and all of the themes and ideas that surrounded his life have died with him, waiting for someone to carry them on for him. Thus, Baldwin and his father contrast here because they represent the two opposite themes in a person’s life.
The white world had shut the door on him and he finally conceded the burden of being black. Baldwin affirms, "I had discovered the weight of the white people in the world" (222). Baldwin realized that his father was not trying to pass along his racist beliefs. He was simply trying to save them from the agonizing conduct of the whites towards them. He found the reason behind the bitterness in his father. Baldwin also became aware that the bitterness, which he had once hated in his father, was now a part of him "The bitterness which had helped to kill my father could also kill me" (222). Baldwin did not want live a lonely life; the fear of becoming, what his father once was, dwelled in Baldwin. He realized that he had to free himself of the bitterness, before the bitterness distanced him from his family (like it had, for his father).
Baldwin uses the experiences he faced in New Jersey and the personal relationship with his father to show ethos throughout his essay. At one point in his essay, Baldwin finds himself in New Jersey where segregation still exist. “I learned in New Jersey…one was never looked at but was simply at the mercy of the reflexes the color of one’s skin caused in other people” (68). Here Baldwin expresses how circumstances in New Jersey were like at the time, but also portrays the way people were viewed based on the color of their skin. Baldwin later goes on to mention the year he spent in New Jersey, was the year in which “[he] first contracted some dread, chronic disease” (70). This “disease” Baldwin contracted is not an actual disease, but more of a way in which he begins to feel and see the world around him differently. The disease Baldwin is referring to throughout his entire essay is bitterness. Living in New Jersey caused Baldwin to gain the sense of bitterness that his father had lived with during his life. Baldwin’s bitterness comes from the way he was specifically treated in New Jersey and how he allowed that feeling to affect his behaviors. Baldwin specifically mentions the moment in New Jersey where the white waitress approaches him at the restaurant stating, “We don’t serve Negroes here” (71). At this point we begin to see Baldwin as he acts out in violence by stating, “I wanted her to come close enough for me to get her neck
The text continues with Baldwin warning his nephew about the struggle he is going to endure for just being born black and nothing else. Also telling him that he must survive for his children and his children’s children. He warns him, telling him that this country will set him up for failure and that they will try to control where he could go, what he could do, and how he could do it. He continues to articulate that he must stay true to himself because no matter how much he tries to resemble white people they will never accept him. He later states how corrupt the white mind is, for example, he says, “They are, in effect, still trapped in a history which they do not understand; and until they understand it, they cannot be released from it. They have had to believe for so many years, and for innumerable reasons, that black men are inferior to white men. Many of them, indeed, know better, as you will discover, people find it very difficult to act on what they
In Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin, Baldwin uses various stylistic devices and rhetorical strategies such as personification, and metaphors. Baldwin first uses personification in order to describe his father's death. In this, Baldwin state's “Death, however, sat as purposefully at my father's bedside as life stirred within my mother's womb.” Baldwin uses this personification of death in order to show how death consumed his father, becoming a stronger person than his father was during his demise. Furthermore, this can be seen as irony, as while Baldwin's father lay dying, new life was coming about, relating to a larger theme of death leading into new life. Further personification can be seen when Baldwin states that “There is not a Negro alive who does not have rage in his blood.” Through the personification of rage, it can be seen that like death, rage can overpower one’s mentality, creating a strength equal to, or more than that of a human. Baldwin also uses the metaphor of hatred being a chronic disease as it describes how deadly hatred can be, to the point of one's life being filled and ended with rage inside their body. Together, these stylistic devices and rhetorical strategies work together to affect the overall tone and meaning of the work as they display how despair and hatred must be fought in one's heart, for one to achieve acceptance, and equal power. Overall, these stylistic choices affect the audience’s reactions as they are able to identify the tone of
James Baldwin in “Notes of a Native Son” writes about the death of his father and his struggle in America during segregation. He also reveals that he didn’t have a very good relationship with his ill father. Throughout the essay there is a repetition of bitterness. Also, Baldwin’s experiences reveal his purpose for writing the essay. One passage that is especially revealing is on page 222 which says, “When he died I had been away from home for a little over a year. In that year I had had time to become aware of the meaning of all my father’s bitter warnings, had discovered the secret of his proudly pursed lips and rigid carriage: I had discovered the weight of white people in the world. I saw that this had been for my ancestors and now would be for me an awful thing to live with and that the bitterness which had helped to kill my father could also kill me.” This passage reveals how Baldwin’s relationship with his father, and his father’s warnings help demonstrate how hatred can cause negative effects on African Americans.
Baldwin determines that violence and racial separatism are not acceptable solutions for achieving “power”. Baldwin believes that black people will only be able to achieve lasting influence in America if they love and accept white people. In contrast, writing 52 years after Baldwin, Coats tells his own son to “struggle” but not
“Notes of a Native Son” is a narrative of Baldwin’s life. It is mainly about his relationship with his father and how after his father passed away he realized how his anger and rage, which was depicted as a disease, was
James Baldwin argues that “such Frustrations, so long endured, is driving many strong, admirable men and women whose only crime is color
Baldwin, however, describes his father as being a very black-like “African tribal chieftain” (64) who was proud of his heritage despite the chains it locked upon him. He is shown to be one with good intentions, but one who never achieved the positive outcome intended. His ultimate downfall was his paranoia such that “the disease of his mind allowed the disease of his body to destroy him” (66). Baldwin relates the story of a white teacher with good intentions and his father’s objection to her involvement in their lives because of his lack of trust for any white woman. His father’s paranoia even extended to Baldwin’s white high school friends. These friends, although they could be kind, “would do anything to keep a Negro down” (68), and they believed that the “best thing to do was to have as little to do with them as possible” (68). Thus, Baldwin leaves the reader with the image of his father as an unreasonable man who struggled to blockade white America from his life and the lives of his children to the greatest extent of his power. Baldwin then turns his story to focus on his own experience in the world his father loathed and on his realization that he was very much like his father.
The death had aroused feelings inside Baldwin that he felt he needed to get out. His contempt of his father (63) lasts through most of the essay. Soon after this, we find out that Mr. Baldwin is sick and has been
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
In paragraph 10, Baldwin describes the feeling of rage explicitly. He explains that ?rage? is unavoidable and that one cannot ignore it. The rage of people caught in situations, as Baldwin puts it in the epigraph that frames this essay, causes ?rage? on an everyday basis but still cannot be fully comprehended. The rage of the American Negro can only partially be rationalized by the white people with complications and ?never entirely? subdued by the American Negro. This powerful anger cannot be concealed or disguised because it would become deceitful and invigorate ?rage? and add to its unpleasantness (130-131). Additionally, rage is by far the strongest emotion one can experience, especially if repressed. For instance, Baldwin had a lot of anger and hostility built inside of him because of his troubled past and agitated feelings. These feelings grow inside of Baldwin because he cannot fit into a society that accepts him as an ?exotic rarity? (131), not a human being.
Racism is a topic that has existed for many years. But where does it come from? Who do we blame? Should we blame television, music, politics or even our own families? All of the above play a role in racism. We aren't born hating each other. As we grow up we are taught to hate each other. Things such as how our family members talk, treat and deal with other races affect us tremendously. This is where the problem begins. Then our hatred grows as we are influenced by the things we see on TV and the things being said about others in the music that we listen to. As we read the papers we read about politicians bad mouthing other races. How about where we live, go to school or even work? Yes, another set of