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Essay on Hatred in Notes of a Native Son

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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”. The hatred many African Americans possessed during the 1950s caused multiple riots. Baldwin touches on this in “Notes of a Native Son”, by mentioning the Harlem riots that broke out…show more content…
The death of Baldwin’s father is a main topic in “Notes of a Native Son”, where he illustrates the steady mental and physical decline of his father because of his ceaseless anger. In many ways Baldwin eulogizes his father in this essay. But unlike most eulogies, Baldwin uses his to describe his father as “indescribably cruel in his personal life and certainly the most bitter man [he had] ever met” (64). Baldwin mentions his father’s bitterness to illustrate its role in his father’s death. Baldwin recalls many instances where he encountered his father’s animosity for white society. One specific instance which illustrates this hatred is young James’ desire to attend “real” plays with his white schoolteacher. When his father finds out about this, he takes James “aside to ask why she was coming, what interest she could possibly have in [their] house, in a boy like [James]” (67). Though the father supports education, he cannot see the good intentions of Baldwin’s teacher because of his bitterness. Thus, the reader witnesses the magnitude of the father’s detestation, and how it infects every aspect of the father’s life. Even when this schoolteacher comes to the family’s aid, Baldwin’s father “never [trusts] her” (68), and even preaches to James about how his “white friends in high school [are] not really [his] friends and that [he] would
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