Briefly describe the (a) tenor and vehicle in “A Hanging” and in “Notes of a Native Son.”

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One major post of 200 or more words (or two separate posts of 100 or more words) that addresses both of the assigned readings (Orwell & Baldwin) You are required to respond to both readings–Orwell and Baldwin–in your responses and answer 2 questions(SCROLL TO BOTTOM)
Lecture: Introduction to George Orwell & to James Baldwin
George Orwell-
George Orwell (1903-1950) writes as an Englishman abroad, both in Burma (in service to the Indian Imperial Police; at this time India was under British rule). In his early writings, Orwell makes observations of people in the places about which he writes that often reflect the language of colonization: the very superiority, judgment, and domination, which he condemns. Herein lies the irony and the richness of this writer’s work. He tries to change himself and his way of thinking through writing about injustice and the ways it affects human behavior.
As you read his work, note phrases were he actually begins to see those who have been colonized as “human beings.” Also note phrases or sections where he makes assumptions or uses metaphors that convey frustration, misunderstanding, ignorance, or superiority.
How does he really know the people about whom he writes and for whom he speaks? Does he have the right or privilege to speak for others? Consider, in general, the writer’s power through written language and if s/he has a responsibility to exercise care when speaking about and for others. Orwell’s writing in “A Hanging” is based on his difficult position as a representative of colonial power in Burma. Then, the writing becomes a meditation and also a polemic (a written attack) against colonization and its evils.
Orwell is ahead of his time in critiquing the project of colonization, even while caught in some of the very projects and conceptions he criticizes. Colonizing (European) countries in 1936 (at the time of Orwell’s writing) were not ready to acknowledge the damage created by their activities on those living in the countries they occupied.
Feel the contradictions in Orwell’s thought and language; yet, feel too the range of his writing. He both embodies colonizing attitudes and uses his writing as a way to reach beyond them to seeing the colonized as human beings. What new consciousness does Orwell reveal in his writing? What does it mean to see another person not as a thing, but as a human being? (Thinking ahead here to themes that emerge in Primo Levi’s work in Survival in Auschwitz.)
Does Orwell view himself as one of those who laughs and drinks after execution, the hanged man still dangling nearby? What does he reveal about what happens to those who implement orders, as they laugh, joke, and turn to alcohol as refuge after executing a man?
James Baldwin(1924-1987) writes “Notes of a Native Son” about a crucial period of awakening in his life catalyzed by his father’s death and his baby sister’s birth (on the same day), and the occurrence of riots in Harlem (the black neighborhood where Baldwin grew up in New York City).
The time was July 1943 and he was just nineteen years old. He says, “I had discovered the weight of white people in the world. I saw that this had been for my ancestors and now would be for me an awful thing to live with and that the bitterness which had helped to kill my father could also kill me” (108). Baldwin realizes the legacy of bitterness that he inherits in response to “the weight of white people in the world” and he chooses something different from his father.
He takes us through a series of difficulties and developments – for example, his work in a New Jersey defense plant where he realizes that “one was never looked at but was simply at the mercy of the reflexes the color of one’s skin cause in other people.”
Through Baldwin’s careful rendering of the black man’s experience in mid-twentieth century America readers are feel the powerlessness of each person to determine his own experience. Experience is determined by skin color and for black men experience is largely determined by the presence of others. Thus, the “weight of whiteness” in the world.
When Baldwin hurls a glass that just misses a waitress and shatters against a mirror behind the bar he realizes the hatred in his heart will kill him. So, he confronts his own hatred. He writes that people cling to hate because once hate is gone we must deal with pain. This essay becomes an exploration of how to defeat hatred and how the black man must find an alternative to hatred if he is not to be killed or die of bitterness.
As we enter Baldwin’s inquiry we recognize the horrible legacy of birth into a racist society. A central question Baldwin asks in “Notes of a Native Son” is: “how to prepare the child for the day when the child would be despised and how to create in the child – by what means? – a stronger antidote to this poison than one had found for oneself.” If a child grows in an environment where he is despised by dominant culture, how do his elders prepare him to combat and find an antidote to this poison of hatred, shame, and fear?
Baldwin seeks an alternative to hatred even while living in a culture that expresses hate. “Hatred, which could destroy so much, never failed to destroy the man who hated and this was an immutable law.” Baldwin is a Native Son, both to America and to his father. He embraces and refutes these “fathers” and attempts to create for himself something new that neither father has offered him.
At essay’s end what does he discover and how does his discovery link to his purpose and function as a writer? Is his creation of a new paradigm one that we may employ in living our own lives? If you find Baldwin’s voice and his work compelling, read some additional autobiographical and polemical essays in Notes of a Native Son (1955), and in his later work, The Fire Next Time (1963). His work is, in part, constitutes a historical document of the time prior to Civil Rights as well as the black rights movement in the United States and Europe.
Choose two questions to respond to in your major post. Include full author name, “Essay Title,” and parenthetical page citations. You must respond to both Orwell and Baldwin’s essays:
What does the hanging signify? Discuss Orwell’s choice of this event to symbolize particular political, social, historical, and economic conditions, and, ultimately, to offer an ethical observation/argument.
What actions or responses does Orwell want his readers to have in reading “A Hanging”? To contextualize: He is writing in the early twentieth century to British readers who have a long history of imperialism.
Through evaluation of particular situations and experiences, what suggestion (argument) does Baldwin put forward in “Notes of a Native Son”?
Detail the significance of the metaphor “native son” and the symbolism of the father in Baldwin’s essay, “Notes of a Native Son.” Think about Baldwin as a native son of America, and his argument for belonging and figuring out who one is as a black man in relationship to his “father” country.
Briefly describe the (a) tenor and vehicle in “A Hanging” and in “Notes of a Native Son.” Compose a brief rationale for your choice of tenor/vehicle in each essay. You may also choose to use the terms focus/frame.

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