James Baldwin's Notes of a Native Son Essay example

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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. Baldwin's depiction of his relationship with his father while he was alive is full of loathing and detest for him and his ideologies, but as he matures, he discovers his father in himself. His father's hatred in relation to the white American…show more content…
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 felt torn between the feeling of hatred that he had always felt for his father and a gnawing feeling of guilt for not being able to understand the reason for his father's detached behavior. He emphasizes, "The moment I saw him I knew why I had put off this visit so long. I told my mother that I did not want to see him because I hated him. But this was not true. It was only that I had hated him and I wanted to hold onto this hatred" (230). Baldwin was afraid to admit that his hatred was meaningless; but that feeling of hate had resided in him for as long as he could remember. Baldwin was not sure if he
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