Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on James Baldwin's Notes of a Native Son. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
Notes of a Native Son: Introduction
Notes of a Native Son: Plot Summary
Notes of a Native Son: Detailed Summary & Analysis
Notes of a Native Son: Themes
Notes of a Native Son: Quotes
Notes of a Native Son: Characters
Notes of a Native Son: Symbols
Notes of a Native Son: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of James Baldwin
Historical Context of Notes of a Native Son
Other Books Related to Notes of a Native Son
- Full Title: Notes of a Native Son
- When Written: 1948-1955
- Where Written: New York City, France, and Switzerland
- When Published: 1955
- Literary Period: 20th century African-American Nonfiction
- Genre: Autobiographical Criticism
- Setting: USA (particularly Harlem), Paris, and an unnamed village in Switzerland
- Climax: When Baldwin throws a glass of water at the waitress in the whites-only restaurant.
- Antagonist: The antagonist of the book is not a person, but rather the phenomena of delusion, prejudice, and oppression
- Point of View: First person from Baldwin’s perspective
Extra Credit for Notes of a Native Son
Star power. Baldwin was a close friend of several of the most important cultural figures of the 20th century, including Marlon Brando (whom he mentions in the book), Nina Simone, Toni Morrison, and Maya Angelou.
On the big screen. A documentary about James Baldwin called I Am Not Your Negro was released in 2016 and was a major critical and commercial success.