In his essay, "Notes of a Native son- James Baldwin discusses his relationship between himself and his father. Even though growing up in a household with both parents may have its advantages, however when one parent is difficult to communicate with, the family structure may break down. Children are often the reflection of their parents in that they may take on certain characteristics of either parent; this may have been the case of the Baldwin household. James realized that he was everything he detested about his father. After living on his own and experiencing life, outside of his father's household, James grew to understand the anger his father portrayed. .
James and his father did not experience a loving, open relationship. He reflected on the one time when he and his father spoke to each other. As a teenager in high school, Baldwin had taken on the responsibility as the editor of his high school paper, along with his responsibility as a Young Minister. His father, who was also a minister, questioned his son of his career choice "writer or preacher. James simply responded that he wanted to become a writer, and thus, the conversation ended.
"My father asked me abruptly, "You'd rather write than preach, wouldn't you?- [ ] I answered, "Yes-(Page 54)."".
Their entire father/son relationship consisted of eight words. .
James seemed to be on an emotional roller coaster with his father. Like most sons, who often look for guidance from their fathers, James did not get this support from his father. James reflected on the reaction of his other siblings on how their spirits somehow deflated as soon as their father entered the home.
"When he took one of children on his knee to play, the child always became fretful and began to cry [ ] I do not remember, in all those years that one of his children was ever glad to see him come home (Page 40)."".
His father was unable to interact with his children and whenever he tried, he failed.