The essay analyzes the book, Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama, which was first published in 1995. The book offers a precedent scenario, which enabled the son of an African father and a white mother to understand his ancestral background, meaning, and purpose in life. Obama’s struggles in the book are shaped by the need to understand the forces that impacted on his experience as an African American with profound different roots and background (Obama, 2007). This prompted his struggle to search for the origins of his father – which were traced back to the ancestral home of a tiny village in Kenya, Africa. This triggered his move from Kansas, where he first stayed with his mother to find the roots of his father – a figure he knew as a myth more than as a man. Obama (2007, 5), “at the time of his death, my father remained a myth to me, both more and less than a man.” The forces that led him to land in Kenya and to the ancestral village of Alego to learn more about himself, his father, and ancestral background for a better understanding of life and purpose.
Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama
Barack Obama intentionally titles the book dreams from my father instead of dreams from my mother. The entire book is triggered by the need to understand the ancestral background of Obama as an African American identity. The identity gave him a unique status. He struggled to understand his history, which was essential to illuminate more on how his upbringing forces influenced his life. The connection to the father’s side – a figure he only knew as a myth more than as a man, induces strong effects that would propel his life as an African American (Obama, 2007). The identity’s strength is fundamental due to the realities he is forced to endure and the social, political, and economic status he had to experience in the United States throughout his life.
Regarding his Mother, the Dreams of My Mother do not compel the same magnitude of persistence, dedication, and hope amidst a myriad of adversities as a Black man in an era of profound racism.
“I saw that my life in America-the black life, the white life, the sense of abandonment I’d felt as a boy, the frustration and hope I’d witnessed in Chicago-all of it was connected with this small plot of earth an ocean away, connected by more than the accident of a name of the color of my skin. The pain I felt was my father’s pain” (Obama, 2007, 168).
This led to the preference of the Dreams from My Father as it outline some similarities in the realities of hardship, struggles, impediments blocking the hope for a bright future, violation of civil rights, among other challenges. Hence, it presents the strong forces that triggered the urge for public service and dedication to install change and hope fundamental to thousands of other people.
Obama encounters several dreams that he received from his father, that shaped his life. The urge to understand his father’s legacy was profound, guiding him to join community organizations against the violent political and racial conflict he had to endure. The vital aspect of understanding the philosophy of the self-identity and connection to the community for oneself is fundamental to inducing the capacity to persevere amidst enormous challenges (Obama, 2007). It is also vital as it enables one to have faith while faced by great adversities, and heal wounds (old, present, and new). The need to confront the bitter truth of his father’s background was essential in compelling the future that he would build as a civil rights attorney and a constitutional law lecturer. The audacity to immerse himself into the public life and dedication to serving is elicited by the urge to advance his father’s legacy that prompted him to leave rural Kenya, acquire education from the United States and join the helms of public service delivery as a government official.
Obama’s text making a statement about the impact of parenting on a child’s dreams or some other point about dreams. Parenting plays an important role in the shaping the child’s dream and the future course. The extensive point in which Obama missed his father in his life left a void of belonging and urge to understand his roots. This triggered the journey to self-discovery and analyzing of one’s ancestral roots or background. Thus, by gaining clarity in the past helps shape the present and future of a child.
In conclusion, the story of his father’s dreams is more compelling due to the struggles he had to endure and the perseverance of meeting his mother. This prompts the naming of the book on the prospect of the Father who helps shape his identity, reality, and personality as an African American than being white.
Obama, B. (2007). Dreams from my father: A story of race and inheritance. Canongate Books.