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

Decent Essays

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. James Baldwin is an outstanding author, who creatively displays his ability to weave narration and analysis throughout his essays. The binaries between life and death play a huge role …show more content…

Throughout the entire essay, Baldwin’s rage seems to keep building up, specifically in the paragraphs where Baldwin is shown extreme prejudice. This is especially obvious when he walks into a diner with a friend to grab a bite to eat. The man at the counter rudely asks them what they want. Baldwin replies stridently that they want a hamburger and coffee. With this the man simply states that they do not serve Negroes. After a few more mocking comments Baldwin and his friend leave the diner. Baldwin simply went into another restaurant and sat down until the waitress came over (70). He describes his rage towards whites as he describes the waitress. He states, “I hated her for her white face, and for her great astounded, frightened eyes. I felt that if she found a black man so frightening I would make her fright worth-while” (71). The waitress, almost sounding apologetic, told him that Negroes were not served at this restaurant. This statement made Baldwin feel “colder and more murderous than ever” (71). He wanted to wrap his hands around her neck, and choke her. After realizing that she would never come close enough to do this Baldwin throws a water mug towards her head. The shattering of the mug snaps Baldwin out of his trance, and he sprints for the door (71-2). All of his pent up anger exploded. Baldwin has committed a serious act. He realizes later the severity

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