Notes of a Native Son - Study Guide The Harlem Ghetto Summary & Analysis

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Baldwin describes the bleak personal and sociological picture of living in Harlem, which has not improved since his own father grew up there. The token attempts at altering the dire landscape include the fixtures of playgrounds and apartment buildings, which Baldwin contends are as effective as makeup for a leper. The residents live in an unending cycle of poverty and despair, made even worse now that the war is over and the jobs for Negroes are even scarcer.

The violence and hatred that erupts within Harlem cannot be kept at bay, even with the election of Negro political leaders. According to Baldwin, these leaders are victims of a system that promotes participation but eventually destroys those who want to affect the necessary changes. Those leaders with true social change at heart usually leave office with their aspirations destroyed, while those who remain have...

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This section contains 375 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the Notes of a Native Son Study Guide
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Nonfiction Classics for Students
Notes of a Native Son from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.