Comparison Of James Baldwin's Essay "Notes Of A Native Son" And John Wideman's Collection Of Homewood Stories "Our Time."

959 words - 4 pages

In James Baldwin's essay "Notes of a Native Son", Baldwin's father contracted a disease and passed away. Similarly in John Wideman's collection of Homewood stories "Our Time." Wideman's brother Robby had a friend die of a terminal disease. The death of this close relation led both James Baldwin and Roby Wideman into a spiral of remorse and frustration. "The moment I saw him I knew why I had put off the visit so long....I hated him....and I wanted to hold onto this hatred." (Baldwin 61). Baldwin talks about how he hates his father and never wanted to see him. Baldwin grew up in a poor family of nine kids and had scarcely enough money to eat. Baldwin's father would make jokes about their poverty which the family found little humor in, but he kept doing it. Baldwin despised his father and thought of things to do after he died without fear of getting him mad. But this hate was all he had to hold onto. He feared that once he saw this man, the hate would be gone. He did not want to see his father as a ruin; It was not a ruin he hated.(61) Baldwin feared that if he could not cling to his hate, he would be forced to deal the sorrow and pain of reality. "They killed Garth, and his dying had killed a part of her son"(Wideman 761). Robby's mother wanted to blame all the events on someone else. She wanted to blame Garth's death on the white doctors which then led to Robby's burglary and killing days. She is probably like most mothers, wanting to place the blame on others than those closest to her. Robby lived out his childhood in the ghettos. During that time it was really hard for them to be somebody. But becoming a nobody was even worse. Garth would always tell Robby that he could be somebody. Without him, there was no reason for Robby to even believe in such a thing. When Garth died, Robby felt as if his life was now shattered. When Garth was alive, he held everything together for Robby, he was his support. This filled Robby with grief as well as led him to soil his life with the turmoil of depression. When Baldwin first introduces his father to the reader, he says, "When he had been dead a long time I began to wish I did". Here Baldwin is admitting that he really didn't try to get to know his father. Correspondingly Robby wishes too that he had done more for his friend. As Robby watched his friend wither away, he regretted his lack of ability to help him. And thus both Baldwin and Robby began their spiral. After the death,...

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