Dreams From My Father

Dreams from My Father explore all the aspects of Obama’s life in relation to the African American literary tradition and to the context of history and culture. The book give us an image of Africa and Obama’s continuing search for himself as a black American. He struggles between race and identity. Though, he realizes that he belonged to neither places and he becomes more comprehensible about himself. Obama raises many important issues that are convoluted and has no simple solutions. He later asks three questions in the book, “what is our community, and how that community might be reconciled with our freedom? How far do our obligations reach? How do we transform mere power into justice, more sentiment into love?” I intend to investigate these questions throughout the review.

Obama’s first question refers to the community and how we can make peace with our personal and communal freedom. For the most part, it has played a significant role in his life. For example, with the great role models of the civil rights movement, Obama as a young adult begins to explore for his community and purpose. He was eager to work for the people even if it didn’t pay much. Eventually, he does get a job in an impoverished neighborhood where the public housing is deteriorated and crimes rates are sky-scraping. His colleagues were discouraged and the people in the community were hopeless. After a sequence of defeats, Obama finally organizes cleanup events for the housing projects, tutoring school kids and job training for the young folks. Obama proposes a unique inspiration through this part because it portrays the strength and the limits of the “organizer.”

Moreover, he encourages the powerless to demand their rights from the powerful ones and help them to organize. It is a suggestion for those in miserable conditions although it underestimates the power that common people have. Obama’s second question is, “how far do our obligations reach?” The question relates deeply to his life since he had always felt a compulsion from his father who often said, “You’re an Obama. You should be the best.” He felt an internal pressure and as well as a sense of responsibility toward his father when he passed away. Obama felt as if his father always watched him and judged him. Looking at his professional life, when he worked as a community organizer, Obama had obligations toward those helpless people and he returns to help them.

Most likely, Obama indicates the idea that if one is truly committed to their goal then their goal would compel them to reach far ahead and be able to help those in need. However, in order to succeed, one needs to force themselves to that extent just as Obama did to help the weak ones in the South side of Chicago. The last question asks, “How do we transform mere power into justice, more sentiment into love?” The example above is a great model that portrays how we can transform our simple power into justice. Through his writing, Obama proposes that we the people needs to come together and fight for justice by speaking up for ourselves and for our community. We will have to demand our rights from the authority because no one will put it forward unless we ask for it. His ideas are very similar to Dr. Martin Luther King and other African American icons. Obama displayed strength and provided inspirations for his readers.



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