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James Baldwin's Notes Of A Native Son

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In the essay “Notes of a Native Son” by James Baldwin, he expresses feelings of hate and despair towards his father. His father died when James was 19 years old from tuberculosis; it just so happens that his funeral was on the day of the Harlem Riot of 1943. Baldwin explains that his father isn’t fond of white people due to the racist past. He recalls a time when a white teacher brought him to a theater and that caused nothing but upset with his father, even though it was a kind act. Many events happened to Baldwin as a result of segregation, including a time where a waitress refused to serve him due to his skin color and Baldwin threw a pitcher of water at her. Throughout this essay James Baldwin uses characterization to show his father’s…show more content…
According to Baldwin, his mother even acknowledged the absurd ideas his father had. He said “It was not until he refused to eat because, he said, his family was trying to poison him that my mother was forced to accept as a fact what had, until then, been only an unwilling suspicion. When he was committed, it was discovered that he had tuberculosis and, as it turned out, the disease of his mind allowed the disease of his body to destroy him. For all the doctors could not force him to eat, either, and, though he was fed intravenously, it was clear from the beginning that there was no hope for him” (54). This is another example of his father’s stubbornness, but more importantly it shows how his father wouldn’t even trust his own family members at times. James Baldwin even stated “We had got on badly, partly because we shared, in our different fashions, the vice of stubborn pride. When he was dead I realized that I had hardly ever spoken to him” (51). The author doesn’t mention having any regrets with their distant relationship and even admits to the fact that they had individual
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