Essay PreviewMore ↓
While reading through James Baldwin's Autobiographical Notes, I was struck with a sudden flash of inspiration. I already knew that I enjoyed Baldwin's works more than any others we have read in class so far: Rodriguez's writing I found to be dull and victimized; Jacobs's was precisely an explanation of how bad slaves lives were and nothing more; and although Virginia Woolf's writings were not painful to read the overall style left me feeling dreamy and disconcerted (after a while all those semicolons got to me). Baldwin's writing had not only content, but a reflection upon it that I found interesting to read. He offered a fresh perspective, analyzing the social history of America and its causes. It is very interesting to read the sections discussing the concept of fighting poison by using poison, and the section discussing the choice of amputation or gangrene. Rather than throw up his hands in despair and say, "Life's not fair that I must choose between amputation and gangrene," he analyzes the benefits and trade-offs. All this I knew before reading his Autobiographical Notes, but while I read them I was suddenly struck with a very powerful revelation. I realized that I liked his writings because I found in him the same philosophy I have adopted. I immediately wondered if there was a connection between our philosophies and the fact that we were both minorities. I'm curious as to how much of the similarities in our philosophies can be attributed to being minorities, and how many differences can be explained by the fact that we are from two different minorities and those that can be explained by the fact that he wrote and lived generations removed from myself.
There are three main similarities between our philosophies that I would like to discuss, although the three are likely closely related. The first is that even bad situations contain their associated good. Baldwin writes that the things which hurt and the things which help cannot be divorced from each other. I am not sure how widely spread this idea is, but I certainly believe it. Since around the time I was in 3rd grade, I have believed that good can not exist without bad. Furthermore, I believe that the sum of one's life that he considers good and that which he considers bad will in the end come out equal.
How to Cite this Page
"Autobiographical Comparison." 123HelpMe.com. 21 Jan 2019
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- A Comparison of Charlotte Bronte Biographies Over the years, there have been many biographies written about Charlotte Bronte. Elizabeth Gaskell's The Life of Charlotte Bronte has been regarded as the standard work. Winifred Gerin's biography, Charlotte Bronte: The Evolution of Genius (published in 1967) was the first to include new information on Bronte. Gerin says, "It is paradoxical that the standard work is still Mrs. Gaskell's Life. This remains a great biography, but published two years after its subject's death it suffered from the inevitable limitations thus imposed .... [tags: compare contrast comparison]
1768 words (5.1 pages)
- Parallels Between Hemingway and Frederic in A Farewell to Arms "All fiction is autobiographical, no matter how obscure from the author's experience it may be, marks of their life can be detected in any of their tales"(Bell, 17). A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway is based largely on Hemingway's own personal experiences. The main character of the novel, Frederic Henry, experiences many of the same situations that Hemingway lived. Some of these similarities are exact, while some are less similar, and some events have a completely different outcome. Ernest Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899, in Oak Park, Illinois.... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
1706 words (4.9 pages)
- Although religion does not exist as a central theme in Toni Morrison’s work, it does set premise for a richly intertwined web of symbolism. Morrison’s novels focus on the lives of characters acting in the present day or recent past. For African Americans, events of the past are a crucial facet of culture as they seek to remember their history, the most influential of these events reaching far back into the years of slavery. Historians argue that for incoming slaves, Christianity offered a religious ground for the displaced individual, a soil in which to replant the symbols of their native spirituality.... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
2403 words (6.9 pages)
- Comparison Of Benjamin Franklin and Frederick Douglass America, a land with shimmering soil where golden dust flew and a days rain of money could last you through eternity. Come, You Will make it in America. That was the common theme of those who would remove to America. It is the common hymn, the classic American rags-to-riches myth, and writers such as Benjamin Franklin and Frederick Douglass had successfully embraced it in their works.Franklin and Douglass are two writers who have quite symmetrical styles and imitative chronology of events in their life narratives.... [tags: Compare Contrast Franklin Douglass Essays]
1046 words (3 pages)
- A Comparison Between Death of a Naturalist and Digging For GCSE course work we have to compare two poems from a foreign culture. The two poems we picked were both by the popular Irish poem ‘Seamus Heaney.’ The two poems we’re looking at ‘Death of a Naturalist’ and ‘Digging’ could be seen as autobiographical. ‘Death of a Naturalist’ is basically about a young boy who had a keenness for nature, which has disintegrated throughout a summer. ‘Digging’ is about the poet remembering his childhood, he writes about about digging as though it is patriotic of his family.... [tags: Poetry Poems Seamus Heaney Essays]
955 words (2.7 pages)
- A Comparison of Death of a Naturalist and Digging by Seamus Heaney The poems 'Death of a Naturalist' and 'Digging' have many similarities, and contrasts. Some of the reoccurring themes in the two poems include memories of childhood and changes in the life of the writer. There are contrasts too, in 'Death of a Naturalist'; the writer is concentrating on himself and his own experiences in life, rather than the experiences of others. In 'Digging', the opposite is true, as the writer concentrates mainly on the events in other people's lives, namely his father and grandfather.... [tags: Papers]
1529 words (4.4 pages)
- A Comparison Between the Poetic Techniques Of Ferlinghetti & Afrika Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Tatamkhulu Afrika both have very effective poems. Both of which are written to state some form of inequality or discrimination. There are distinct and hidden similarities and differences between the two. These are going to be highlighted in this report. As mentioned before, both are talking about certain inequality or discrimination; however there are two main differences: 1. One poet is talking about racial issues (Afrika), the other about democratic issues (Ferlinghetti) 2.... [tags: Papers]
621 words (1.8 pages)
- ... Fleur makes a point to invoke Tims’ reactions by changing her personality around Tims intentionally. In a sense, she enjoys seeing Tims act as she does. Fleur even puts her physical self in a rather precarious situation that could possibly be troublesome. Fleur tells Dottie, one of the members of the AA, that she sensed trouble amidst the organization. In response, Dottie tells Fleur to leave the job. Fleur quickly states that “[she’s] involved. [She] has to know what’s going on. [She] senses a racket” (49).... [tags: Novel, Fiction]
1714 words (4.9 pages)
- A Comparison of Biographic Features in The Sun Also Rises and The Great Gatsby The writers F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway included biographical information in their novels The Great Gatsby and The Sun Also Rises that illuminated the meaning of the work. Although The Sun Also Rises is more closely related to actual events in Hemingway's life than The Great Gatsby was to events in Fitzgerald's life, they both take the same approach. They both make use of non-judgemental narrators to comment on the "lost generation".... [tags: essays papers]
2530 words (7.2 pages)
- Comparison John Updikes AP and Timothy OBreins How to Tell a True War Story Although the short stories, “A&P,” by John Updike, and “How to Tell a True War Story,” by Timothy O’Brien, are both written in the technique of first person narrative, the two stories are conveyed to the reader in very different styles. John Updike, who was 29 at the time when he wrote “A & P,” narrates his story from the point of view of a 19 year old boy. The narration of the story of “A & P” illustrates the scene of the grocery store in which the teenage boy, Sammy, is a cashier who witnesses everything that goes on during the day.... [tags: essays papers]
809 words (2.3 pages)
The differences between our philosophies have not exhibited themselves through the short Notes that Baldwin writes. He writes that he hated and feared white people, he even writes that all American Negros share these feelings towards white people. I, however, do not fear or hate white people as a whole. I believe that I am more open and less willing to ascribe to prejudices. Even though I may have some preconceived notions about different groups of people I feel as though I judge each individual more on who he is than on any group to which he belongs (whether it is willingly, or as Baldwin puts it accidentally). Another difference is that Baldwin feels that he is inherently separate from Western Civilization. He writes that the most crucial time in his own development came when he was forced to recognize that he was a "kind of bastard of the West." He writes that when he followed the line of his past he did not find himself in Europe but in Africa, which meant in some subtle way, in a really profound way, he brought something different to the great works of European history, that he might search in them in vain forever for any reflection of himself. I've never really felt this way, and upon being introduced to this notion I do not believe it applies to myself. I suppose I have the "benefit" of tracing my ancestry back to France, although really that's a single line, and just because my great-great-great-great-great grandfather came and settled in America doesn't mean that my heritage is that of Europeans. Another possible difference is that I suppose my true ancestry can be traced back to Spain, which is more closely connected with European culture than Africa, but I've never really thought about my heritage, or ancestors. Instead, I've always just looked at the present; at the time when I was born, and at my ancestors whom I have actually known which were all centralized in the American Southwest. It is possible that Baldwin, in being an African American, was forced to look back upon his history in a way that I have never had to.
I believe that our philosophies cannot have originated in our shared trait of being minorities. Hemingway, whom Baldwin quotes when discussing his philosophy, was definitely a product of American, and prior to that European, culture. I also believe that many of my beliefs have come about because of books I have read and the education I have received, both of which are undoubtedly more Western than unique to me or my ethnicity.