Notes of a Native Son Analysis Essay Example
Notes of a Native Son Analysis Essay Example

Notes of a Native Son Analysis Essay Example

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  • Pages: 4 (909 words)
  • Published: January 21, 2022
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Notes of a Native Son are collections of articles/essays that have been previously published in different periodicals. These essays were not originally written with the aim of being published together. However, they were published together because they share Baldwin’s concerns on racial dilemma and the issue of American identity in United States. This novel is a powerful reflection of poverty and hopelessness of Africa Americans. It clearly gives a visualization of the meaning of poverty and hopelessness faced by black Americans. Native Son gives an in depth perception to the feelings of black Americans towards white Americans. Richard Wright uses violence in Native Son to express the full meaning he wishes to put across to his readers. Bigger Thomas the main character who is a black man is robbed his dignity, pride, and identity (Baldwin, James, and Jones


, 12). Bigger lashes out with a lot of fear, which self-destructs him. This fear also gives him an identity different from that of other black Americans. The three sub parts of the book give a clear illustration of Bigger’s fear transformation. This transformation gives him sense of individuality. However, he really struggles to lose his fear and claim his initial sense of self. Bigger represents the victimization that face black people in America.

The first group of articles in the book mainly focuses on the black individual as an artist and on his or her own image within the cultural canon. This group contains three essays namely “Everybody’s Protest Novel,” “Many Thousands Gone,” and “Carmen Jones: The Dark Is Light Enough.” In the article “Everybody’s Protest Novel,” Baldwin who was once a passionate fan of Harriet Beecher Stowe,

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brands her an “impassioned pamphleteer,” and greatly criticizes Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the other “protest novels,” as well as Richard Wright’s Native Son because of failing to fulfill their lofty aims, using abusive language and overtaxing credibility. In the second article, “Many Thousands Gone,” Baldwin recognizes Native Son as a literary landmark (Baldwin, James, and Jones, 42). However, he goes ahead to question the actual power of the Native Son because of the huge depersonalization and mythification of the blacks like Uncle Tom and Aunt Jemima. In real sense, it is easy to conclude that “native son” is a monster, which is created by American history. However, the same American history can confront and re-create him. In the third article, “Carmen Jones: The Dark Is Light Enough,” the author criticizes an all-black production of a theatrical standard for spearheading racial stereotypes.

The second group has three essays namely “The Harlem Ghetto,” “Journey to Atlanta” and “Notes of a Native Son.” In the first essay on “The Harlem Ghetto” Baldwin gives his view on life in Harlem during 1940s. His observations are not attractive because most of the residents there are poor and live in apartments charged more than the can afford. In this essay, he tackles black press, empty promises by leaders, and religion (Baldwin, James, and Jones, 100). The black press is just like the white press because they do not work on solving the problems faced by Black Americans. The second article “Journey to Atlanta” is about an African American singing group’s trip to the South. This article is humorous, cynical, and looks at the poor treatment that the group faced. The third easy

in this group the “Notes of a Native Son” illustrates Baldwin’s anger and despair after the death of his farther who they had a bitter relationship. His anger and despair is caused by the fact that he comes to realize his father’s believes were true.

The third has four essays namely “Encounter on the Seine: Black Meets Brown,”“A Question of Identity,” “Equal in Paris” and “Stranger in the Village." The first two essays “Encounter on the Seine: Black Meets Brown” and “A Question of Identity examines the feelings and attitudes of all Americans in Paris through 1940s to 1950s (Baldwin, James, and Jones, 122). The third article “Equal in Paris” is Baldwin’s explanation on being arrested and jailed for sometime in a case that he was accused of stealing sheets. He claims that the French police did not abuse him racially like in the United Stated. This article depicts American police as racists who abuse black Americans. The last essay “Stranger in the Village,” illustrates Baldwin’s time in a Swiss village. It shows the astonishing curiosity of individuals who had never seen a black person.

James Baldwin's collection of essays, Notes of a Native Son clearly gives readers a thoughtful explanation on the social environment, which black Americans are subjected to in the United States during the era of Civil Rights Movement. Black Americans were living in an environment full of poverty, racial discrimination, and lack of identity. This means that black Americans are not treated the same as the whites. From the above explanation, it is clear that each section of the book covers a certain topic. The first three essays are about African American culture. The

second group of essays examines different aspects of African American life after World War II. The last part essays examine Baldwin’s experiences while living in Europe. These articles reveal the process that Baldwin passed in order to know and accept his identity as African American. The experiences are not good.

Work Cited

  1. Baldwin, James, and Edward P. Jones. Notes of a Native Son. Boston: Beacon Press, 2012. Print.
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