Terms and Ideas : “Notes of the Native Son” by James Baldwin


This paper has explained two concepts that are evident in the essay “Notes of the Native Son” by James Baldwin. The two concepts that were addressed were: The concept of racial discrimination which African Americans have been subjected to. Also, there is a concept of relationship as depicted between the Baldwin and his father. The ideas that are drawn by Baldwin is that the traits of bitterness that people have towards another race are inborn characteristic and therefore they cannot be avoided. The second idea is that traits of bitterness towards someone’s races are caused by the fear that people have towards something that is “different”

“Notes of as Native Son”

James Baldwin in “Notes of a Native Son” presents an essay that explores his heritage of being a black man and the various type of challenges that he undergoes in his life. He views the issue of being a black person in America as equivalent to a stamp on the forehead that cannot be hidden away from the public. In this essay, I will explore at least two ideas and two concepts in regard from the essay.

He discusses the concept of racial discrimination in the essay through the remarks he made that all African Americans are subjected to similar challenges on the basis of their colour. Baldwin believes that the fever of the discrimination has also already recurred, and will continue to recur until the day he will die (Schwarz et al., 56). He perceives his race as something that hinders him from living a full life and makes him feel he is against the world. Another concept that is salient in this essay is the concept of the relationship between Baldwin and his father. It is difficult to mention whether Baldwin’s father played a crucial role in his life or not. On several occasions, he lamented that his father’s temper was so great that he cannot even remember when they were happy seeing their father is coming home but instead they enjoyed when their father was away. His father lacked an ideal figure of a good father. His temper made him to be unable to create contact with other people including his own family.

There are several ideas that are evident in the essay. The bitterness that Baldwin explains is intended to bring an idea that the traits of bitterness towards a certain race are an inborn characteristic that is inevitable (Stadter, 89). He claimed this “bitterness” killed his father and it is likely going to kill him was an idea that the feeling of hatred that Baldwin was feeling cannot be attributed to his father’s temper but it was an inborn reaction towards those who discriminated him. Another idea that is salient in the essay is when Baldwin concludes that all the “bitterness” that is depicted by men towards another race is permeated in the souls of men of different races. He believes that people fear something “different” and this is the cause of racial discrimination to all the African Americans.

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Terms and Ideas : "Notes of the Native Son” by James Baldwin. (2019, Oct 10). Retrieved October 19, 2021 , from

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