What is the most memorable event in Dreams from My Father?

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Before Obama started law school, he went to Kenya to visit his father’s family. This was a life-changing trip for him—one he felt compelled to take in order to come to terms with his father’s death, to gain an understanding of his place in history and in his family’s history, and to gain an understanding of what he wants to achieve in his life. Clearly, this was a trip he had to take before he could move on with his life and continue his political career. Thus, I would say the trip to Kenya after his father died was the most memorable event in the book. It played a crucial role in helping Obama understand his dreams of his father and achieve some resolution from them. This is the trip where myth clashes with reality, where he is disillusioned about his father and must put his illusions in place.

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The most memorable event of Barack Obama’s early life must have been the month he was able to spend with his birth father, Dr. Barack Obama of Kenya. He provides some of the details of this time – as much as he can recall -- in the last nine pages of Chapter Three. He refers to this month often again throughout the book. The weeks turned out to be the only in-person contact he would ever have with Dr. Obama. He didn’t know the man and he wasn’t sure how to interact with him. But he watched his every move: his charismatic way of speaking; the way he talked about Kenyan life to young Barack’s elementary school classmates; even the way he applauded at a jazz concert. Later the future President would piece together descriptions and stories added from his siblings and other relatives in order to create a more complete image of his father. He grew to understand what his father’s dreams and aspirations had been, once upon a time.  

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