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Discuss your thoughts on the following statement:  Dreams from My Father is the story...

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johni10 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 9, 2011 at 1:33 AM via web

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Discuss your thoughts on the following statement:  Dreams from My Father is the story of Barack Obama's search for his lost father.

Discuss your thoughts on the following statement:  Dreams from My Father is the story of Barack Obama's search for his lost father.

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 9, 2011 at 3:56 AM (Answer #2)

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I think that this will require a bit of thought on your part.  I don't see the memoir as a search for his father.  I think that the book is more powerful in how it articulates a complex notion of identity in Modern America.  Obama's background as a biracial individual in a world that is largely constructed in dualities emerges as one of the most compelling ideas in the book.  The question of "Who Am I?" is something that haunts the young Obama and causes him to engage on a spiritual quest for identity.  This element of spirituality is more reflective in its nature, something that causes him to probe who he is, how he was formed, and how does he make peace with the fact that he, as a human being, is "different."  Obama does go back to Africa.  Yet, him doing so is not something that is done to find his father or to search for this figure.  Rather, the memoir displays the idea that Obama's roots in Africa are a part of what constitutes his identity.  He could no more forgo it as much as he could forgo his grandparents' roles in his life or his mother's role in his life.  His connection to Africa is spiritual in that it helps to define who he is.  His going back to Africa is to reclaim something that was a part of who he was and who he is.  I don't see it as much for a search for a lost father, as much as a search for a challenging element of identity.

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 13, 2012 at 1:55 PM (Answer #3)

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To me, Dreams of My Fatheris not so much of a search as it is an exploration. Barack Obama is not expressing a desire to seek out and find his father, but rather is involved in the process of understanding the legacy of color, race, and, importantly, values which he feels he has inherited from his father. 

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