Racism In James Baldwin's Notes Of A Native Son

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“Like father, like son” is a term that is often heard when discussing physical attributions or political choices. In James Baldwin’s “Notes of a Native Son”, the term “like father, like son” would be referring to the way that racism effected both a son and a father’s life. The racism Baldwin’s father encountered changed the “handsome, proud, and ingrown” man that Baldwin saw in pictures into a man that could no longer “establish contact” with other people (Baldwin 588 598). Baldwin’s father limited the number of outside relationships, like the kid’s friends, the family formed because of the hate and distrust he experienced (Baldwin 589). He was not the only victim of racism, his whole family was, due to the pain and contention that was brought home. Baldwin soon experienced the pain his father went through after he moved out. This …show more content…
Baldwin describes his father as “the most bitter man” he has ever met, resulting in his children being afraid of him (Baldwin 588). Also, Baldwin’s father had developed paranoia, causing the limiting of outside relationships (Baldwin 589). The kids were even told by their father that their friends were associating with the devil and were trying to steal from them (Baldwin 589). Bitterness brought into a household can push children and adults apart. This is made evident through the various examples Baldwin uses. He says that when his father “took one of his children on his knee to play, the child always became fretful and began to cry,” displaying the fear the children suffered. Paranoia can be drilled into the minds of children and become problematic in their future, making them think that all people are out to get them. This relates to the “like father, like son” concept by saying that paranoia can be passed down from father to son. Overall, Baldwin’s goal is to try and attack the concept of family separation driven by the power of

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