Father and Son: Bad to Regrettable
James Baldwin is known to be one of the best essay writers in the twentieth century who wrote on a few topics including race, discrimination, sexuality and most of all his personal experiences. In “Notes of a Native Son”, he uses two main strategies to get his point across. First, he likes to tell a story in a narrative view. Following is normally his analysis of the event. He describes the event and then gives his theory on the matter. By doing this, he grants the reader a chance to decipher the meaning. His interpretation may not be what the reader’s is. He likes to argue and provides the basis for his argument in “Notes of a Native Son”. Throughout the essay he talks about himself and his father, their relationship and how their interactions influence his final feelings toward his father. He also integrates public incidents during those times into the essay. This method presents the reader with an opportunity to understand the race issue at that time.
This essay is about part of his life. In the beginning he starts with his father’s death. It was coincidental that the funeral was on his Baldwin’s nineteenth birthday. Mr. Baldwin, his father, and his wife conceived a child near the end of his life. This child was born a few hours after his death. Here Baldwin presents a binary of life and death, along with other examples, that he executes throughout the essay. In retrospection, he perceives his father’s death as a time of sadness and regrets not having a healthier rapport with him and he mentions that his siblings are happy that their father will never come home again. He tells us about the race riots in Detroit and New Jersey and criticizes afterwards. These happenings show the influence they have on Baldwin as he writes, and are used to prove his points.
Near the start of the essay, he writes mainly about his relationship with his father and his analysis of it. There are stories he incorporates to illustrate the point. In the middle we move to a more self-centered narrative. He tells of his story in New Jersey where he realized he could kill someone. He shares some of his thoughts of why people acted as they did towards him and others. This is an effective way he uses narrating and analyzing to work for the reader’s understanding.
The essay goes into great detail of his relationship with his father. He describes his father as cruel (65), bitter (65), and beautiful (64). He does mention the bad in length. On the flip side, he tells us some of the good as well. Throughout his storytelling, the reader gets a glimpse into his life and the way he feels. His feelings evolve during the extent of the essay.
In the stories he tells, the word hate appears quite frequently. It is sometimes used about his father. “I saw nothing very clearly but I did see this: that my life, my real life, was in danger, and not from anything other people might do but from the hatred I...