I took this course because as an English major I thought that taking a class solely on the works of James Baldwin was essential to my development as someone who is interested in writing my senior thesis on American literature. Before taking this class I knew that his works were significant with regards to the Civil Rights Movement. However, I did not think that his writing and experiences would become so personal to me. I think I ended up enjoying his essays more than his novels, mostly due to the fact that his essays delved into his personal life and I understood him better as a person from his essays. I enjoyed the Notes of a Native Son collection the most because the essays were written while he was abroad in France and my final essay is going to focus on this collection because I want to explore what made Baldwin’s time that he spent in Europe so transformative for his journey as a writer. I want to understand why Americans are able to cultivate a better sense of identity abroad. I understand that Baldwin left America to escape racism. However, I feel as though this feeling persists throughout generations of Americans who feel the desire to escape for other reasons (apart from travel). I will be studying abroad in England next semester and wonder how the experience of living abroad will affect my identity and how I view my Americanness. I look forward to exploring these ideas further in my final essay through my analysis of Notes of a Native Son. Now that I have read and conversed about Baldwin in an academic setting I feel prepared to read the works that we didn’t have the opportunity to discuss in class on my own and in other classes.