The novel “The Beautiful Struggle” by Ta-Nehisi Coates narrates on the different experiences that the author went through when growing up in the company of his friends and siblings, as well as the experiences that his father. The perspective of Coates and his father display a generational difference, but there are some similarities especially in the way a parent imparts knowledge to a child. The life experiences that the two go through have a significant role in shaping their future lives.
Coates describes his father in detail as a person who is industrious, unpredictable, adventurous, inquisitive, loyal, responsible, and patriotic. Coates is responsible in the sense that he wants his children to get good grades so that they can reach their potential and so that they can be independent in future their own in the future and not to be like the individuals who staked their lives and are currently a burden others (66). In addition, he advises Coates on making good decisions and thinking of repercussions when engaging in certain activities. This is clear in the statement whereby Coates father tells Coates that boys would search for skullies, but later they would have to cater for the girls’ needs (Coates 65).
Coates father disciplines Coates so that he can be a better person in the future, but his approach displays an unpredictable character. Coates explains that it was hard to determine when one would receive a beating; this was scary for him because he felt similar to a horror movie entrapment (68). One search scenario is where Coates is disciplined for losing house keys. Coates father does this so that Coates can be more responsible with things that matter, and so that he can stand for himself in situations such as the one whereby a kid took the house keys and threw them in the trash (68). This situation is similar to Coates father childhood experience. As a child, some kids roughed up Coates father as he headed home and in the process he lost Coates grandfather’s newspaper. Coates grandfather instructed Coates father to go and get the paper from the boys or he would receive a beating (Coates 69). At this point, Coates father learns that fear can be used to win the enemy without fighting (Coates 69).
Coates father is an industrious person he worked for various firms such as transporting grocery for A&P, served in the army, worked at United Airlines in the luggage section, and later joined the Black Panther movement (Coates 70, 75, 77). Coates father is also portrayed as a patriotic person who joins the army to fight for his country. This wish was mostly influenced by the movies he watched (Coates 70-71) Moreover, one of his mentors was John Wayne, who is presented as a war hero by the film industry (Coates 71). This also presents Coates father as an adventurous person who searched for information from movies. Coates father also searches for information from newspapers just like Coates grandfather and books.
Coates dad was in constant search for answers and that is why he read books on Malcolm, Baldwin, and Wright (74). The knowledge he gained made him view things in a different light; he did not take situations as they seemed he believed that masks were used to conceal unpleasant situations (Coates 74). The new information ignited the feeling of the need for a revolution such that he sought for an opportunity to join the Black Panther movement (76).
Coates, Ta-Nehisi. The Beautiful Struggle. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2008. Print.