Journal of the Faculty of Humanities and Human Sciences;Volume 4


Barack Obama and His-Story : Paradox of Hybridity and Masculinity in His Autoandrography

Senaha, Eijun

Permalink :


This essay, a revision of an oral presentation at NASSS, examines Barack Hussein Obama's 1995 autobiography Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance from literary perspectives as the text introduces not only a postmodern bildungsroman hero of hybridity but the author's paradoxical obsession to paternal heritage. As a result, his autoandrography, a life writing of a man about himself and by himself, represents a familiar story of a man who is trapped by the myth of masculinity. The essay first identifies various postmodern characteristics of autobiography with the text: genealogy, narrative of ethnic identity and community, memoir, trauma narrative, and bildungsroman. Then, it examines the narrator's relation to his father and finds that the text also portrays a man who is molded into an anti-postmodern ideology of manhood. The essay concludes that the text represents postmodern male anxieties. Being a racial minority and gender majority, the narrator finds himself difficult to locate in this world of diversities. Barack Obama's ultimate decision was to rely on what he thought to be definite: i.e. paternity.