Reviews of Notes of a Native Son Essay

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Reviews of Notes of a Native Son

Notes of a Native Son, a widely acclaimed and celebrated book by James Baldwin was subjected to many reviews upon its first publication. There were many opposing views between reviewers but almost all came to the conclusion that Baldwin’s use of words was extremely eloquent and intelligent. Specifically an article titled “Rage unto Order” by Dachine Rainer was very adamant about Baldwin’s genius as a writer but hardly did anything to explain or exemplify that fact. Another review written by Langston Hughes reflects upon how Baldwin clings to the issue of racial discrimination on Negroes and that if he let go of that fact it would prove him to be a greater writer. In the third article the author tries to
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Why “Equal in Paris” should be mentioned as the strongest is not explained. “Many Thousands Gone” was described as being weak because Baldwin “psychologically repudiates his blackness to so alarming an extent that the piece reads like a literary schizophrenia.” That however, doesn’t raise much of an explanation or give any detail on the cause for such a statement. One of the most predominant themes in the article mentioned by the author pertains to Baldwin being an exceptional writer. She says, “His virtues are so great that one can make light of Mr. Baldwin’s weaknesses” (Commonweal 384). The author even goes so far as to say he is the most perceptive Negro writing today and the most eloquent, surpassing even Ralph Ellison and Richard Wright. It is understood Baldwin’s writing skills are great and that he is a Negro but there is never really any point made or any examples given throughout. In all there were one analyses and one comment made upon a particular essay so one might ask themselves of this article, “What is your point?”

Hughes’ review opens with expectations of a fabulous artist mentioning untouchables like William Shakespeare, Beethoven, and Rembrandt. Following the passage, the review compares James Baldwin’s ability to write with the writings of these masters as a way to almost humble the efforts of Baldwin as if to not glorify him. Hughes then counters by saying that the quality of James’ writing