Dreams From My Father by Barrack Obama | Teen Ink

Dreams From My Father by Barrack Obama

December 14, 2009
By cabi816 GOLD, Greenville, South Carolina
cabi816 GOLD, Greenville, South Carolina
14 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Dreams from My Father, written by Barrack Obama, chronicles his life from early childhood to his time in Kenya. The book begins with Obama telling the reader about his childhood and his relationship with his family. Because the book opens with this information, it sets the stage for the reader to have a better understanding of Obama and his reactions and responses to various things that occur in his life.

The first part of Obama’s life consisted of living in Hawaii with his young mother and grandparents. His mother then met Lolo and moved to Indonesia. This was a crucial time in Obama’s life because he experienced what political corruption and extreme poverty did to a society and would later affect his aspirations and career goals. After living in Asia, Obama moved back to Hawaii to live with his grandparents and go to a prestigious school. Here, he felt as though he were different from the other children and struggled with this fact. After living in Hawaii, he goes to Occidental college in Los Angeles. Here, he meets new people who further expose him to the black power movement. After attending Occidental, Obama decides to move to New York and enter Columbia College within Columbia University. During this time, he decides to pursue a career in organizing. This leads him to living in Chicago and working on the South Side in hopes of helping the African American population reach a state of more influence in government and to obtain equal resources.

While living in Chicago, Obama meets many people who remind him of the poverty he saw in Indonesia. Though this organization, he worked with churches and neighborhoods in hopes of helping unemployed people obtain jobs to improve the neighborhoods and reduce the amount of crime and gang activity. During this time, Obama meets his sister Auma who visits him in Chicago. She discusses her relationship with their father and tells him about the grief she feels over the realization that he died before she was truly able to know him. When Obama was ten years old, his father came to Hawaii to visit from Kenya, and this was the only real memory he has of spending time with his father, so he too feels this way. Auma tells her brother that he needs to come home with her to Kenya. While she lives in Germany, she feels most at home on their grandfathers land and she wants him to experience this too.

Obama decides to travel to Kenya. For the first time in his life, strangers know his last name and his family. He finds comfort in this and while his father had not lived a perfect life, Obama enjoyed seeing his father’s legacy. Because Obama met many of his relatives he was able to see more of the man his father was. He is able to bond with his brother, Mark, because he too has an American mother and has grown up with distance from their father. This trip to Kenya, answered many questions Obama had about his family and origin, but he still had questions only his father could answer.

I’m glad I read Dreams from My Father because it has helped me to better understand Barrack Obama’s beliefs and political ideas. It is interesting to see how his life experiences have prepared him for his job as president and his past’s influence upon his present and future.

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