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The essays that comprise Notes of a Native Son range over many genres. In other essays, Baldwin wears the hat of the critic. What all the essays share is incisive cultural analysis. Whether he is talking about the unreality of a film that is supposed to portray the African American experience or telling an anecdote about seeing his father on his deathbed, Baldwin is always making a larger point about American society and the American psyche.
Baldwin has been compared to the biblical prophets, who stood at a remove from their society in order to rebuke and reform it. He insists again and again that the role of the artist is not to champion causes but to express his own experience, which is the only thing he knows intimately enough to speak about with any honesty and insight.
And though Baldwin owes something in his style and basic stance to the biblical prophets, his relationship to religion was neither simple nor positive. The first consists of three critical essays: The second part of the book is the most journalistic and anecdotal.
The third part of the book consists of four essays dealing with questions of identity that arose in a new way for Baldwin during his time abroad.
This section contains words approx.THE SPIKE. It was late-afternoon.
Forty-nine of us, forty-eight men and one woman, lay on the green waiting for the spike to open. We were too tired to talk much. , Billie. Letter, 2 January Accession 4 pages.
Letter, 2 January , from a soldier named Billie at Petersburg, Virginia, to his sister Maggie describing the wintery weather conditions around Petersburg during the siege of James Baldwin (–) was a novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic, and one of America's foremost writers.
His essays, such as “Notes of a Native Son” (), explore palpable yet unspoken intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western societies, most notably in mid-twentieth-century America. The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue.
The essays that comprise Notes of a Native Son range over many genres. Some are essentially memoirs, as in the case of the title essay, “Notes of a Native Son,” in which Baldwin reflects at length on his relationship with his father.
"Notes of a Native Son" by James Baldwin In this essay, James Baldwin explores the complexities of both race relationships and familial relationships. Concerning his relationship with his father, Baldwin admits toward the beginning of the essay: “We had got on badly, partly because we shared, in our different fashions, the vice of stubborn.