Notes to a Native Son

1226 Words Apr 19th, 2012 5 Pages
1) From the last paragraph in the biographical section on page 51 that starts with “In ‘Notes of a Native Son,’” was most useful to my understanding of this essay because it gives a brief summary of Baldwin’s essay. However, the first couple of sentences on page 49 gave me an idea of what kind of writer Baldwin is: “took on the responsibility of speaking as a black American about the ‘Negro problems in America.’” 2) Baldwin’s father is a minister whom he never gets to know as a true loving parent. There are few instances where Baldwin says his father said something nice. His father complimented his brilliant choir boy voice in church, which brought much joy to his father. Baldwin says, “I remembered that he had always been grinning …show more content…
In the end, he realizes “the dead man mattered; blackness and whiteness did not matter.” (p.67) His comforting tone puts the reader in his position, and allows one to become a part of him and his history. As a young child, I think it was hard for Baldwin to relate to his father. His father’s hatred and detachment from, not only society, but from his family, caused confusion for Baldwin. He didn’t understand why his father thought, “white people would do anything to keep a Negro down” (p.56), and why the presence of a white person in his house was a violation. It was in his innocence that he denied his father and his views. Lack of education made it hard for Baldwin to fathom reality, his innocence became ignorance, and it was not until he was placed in the “read world” that he saw what caused his father to be so bitter for so many years. The discrimination he was faced with made him “colder and more murderous than ever.” (p.58) He was no longer naïve, and he carried hatred in his heart. Baldwin soon realized that “hatred itself becomes an exhausting and self-destructive pose.” (p.67) Growth and the acquiring of knowledge over time allowed Baldwin to see the “big picture” more clearly. He learned ideas of acceptance and equal power. It’s as if his perception of life completely changed, he didn’t want to die like his father, bitter and
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