Summary of Native Son
In Richard Wright’s novel Native Son, is divided into three sections “Fear” “Flight” and “Fate”. In “Fear” we are introduced to Bigger, the protagonist who lives in the Black Belt neighborhood in Chicago. Immediately we see that Bigger is poor, he lives in a ghetto area and hasn’t moved out of the family apartment. Bigger is bitter tow ards his own family due to their poverty. He tries to hide his fears by being a bully and using violence. Bigger’s mother, Mrs. Thomas, tells Bigger he needs to stop fooling around with his gang but that only creates antipathy towards his own mother. Bigger’s options are limited, he has barely any opportunities to succeed in making enough money for his family. Luckily he gets a break when his mom tells him of a job offering by Mr. Dalton, the owner of the Black Belt projects. Bigger would have to chauffer Mr. Dalton and unfortunately only excels Bigger’s resent leading him to try robbing a deli. However he is too afraid and projects his fear into anger towards his friend Gus. The quarrel against Gus leads Bigger to get kicked out of his own gang. Now Bigger realizes he should take the chauffer job and try to mingle with the rich people. In “Flight” Bigger goes out to dinner one night with Mary, Mr. Dalton’s daughter, and Jan, Mary’s boyfriend. This night causes havoc for Bigger because of Mary being drunk it accidently leads to her own death. Bigger then tries to cover up his tracks and Bessie, his girlfriend, is caught in the middle of the action. Bessie is horrified that Bigger killed Mary but believes Bigger to be a good man. Bigger ends up having sex with Bessie and then kills her. In “Fate” Bigger is tracked down by police the next day and beaten down. He is thrown in jail and tried for the murder. Mrs. Thomas visits her son in jail and wishes he pray for God’s help. Bigger is even offered help from Jan, Mary’s beau, but Bigger is sentenced to death. All in all in the end Bigger is actually seems to...
...versus society, man versus man, and finally, man versus self. Authors, many times, will use only one or two of these conflicts but in the novel, NativeSon, all four conflicts are used to some extent. In this novel, Richard Wright, does a superb job of meticulously blending all four conflicts together to form a well-rounded novel about a black man in 1920's Chicago.
"The icy water clutched again at his body like a giant hand; the chill of it squeezed him like the circling coils of a monstrous boa consrictor."(268) This is a perfect example of man versus nature in this novel. In this scene Bigger is faced with a stream of water that is trying to push him into the hands of his hunters. He does everything to escape its grip but the elements get the best of him and he eventually is knocked down by the force of the water and into the arms of his captors. The water combined with the wind and cold outside also take away every ounce of strength he has, thus, leaving him at the mercy of the "furious whisper of water, gleaming like silver in the bright lights..." (268). In the novel Bigger does not have many conflicts with the elements and nature but when he does, it signifies and sets apart a major event in the storyline. This eloquent use of a man versus nature set one of the four conflict building blocks into the foundation for NativeSon.
Another prominent conflict Wright uses is man versus man. One vivid...
Introduction to Literature
Dr. Brenda Doharris
Sept. 29th 2009
Margolies, Edward. "Revolution; Nativeson"
The Art of Richard Wright. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale and Edwardsville, 1969.
In this essay, Margolies's main thesis is that Wright's novel, NativeSon does have obvious flaws but its impact on today's readers is just as profound as it was in 1940. The body of the essay is an enlargement of his arguments supporting this thesis. The essay can roughly be divided into three sections: the first section examines the weaknesses of what Margolies describes as "proletarian literature". The second examines the plot consisting of three books within the novel. He then examines each of the three books and points out their significance in terms of the development of the plot. The third (final) section looks at reasons for the novel's continuing impact and influence on today's readers.
Margolies describes NativeSon as a "Proletarian literature" and argues that all the weaknesses characteristic of such literature are inherent in NativeSon. The reader may not be aware of these flaws because Wright's protagonist, Bigger Thomas is decidedly the 'Anti-hero'. He is weak, cowardly and...
...In NativeSon, Richard Wright introduces Bigger Thomas, a liar and a
thief. Wright evokes sympathy for this man despite the fact that he
commits two murders. Through the reactions of others to his actions and
through his own reactions to what he has done, the author creates
compassion in the reader towards Bigger to help convey the desperate
state of Black Americans in the 1930's.
The simplest method Wright uses to produce sympathy is the portrayal of
the hatred and intolerance shown toward Thomas as a black criminal.
This first occurs when Bigger is immediately suspected as being involved
in Mary Dalton's disappearance. Mr. Britten suspects that Bigger is
guilty and only ceases his attacks when Bigger casts enough suspicion on
Jan to convince Mr. Dalton. Britten explains, "To me, a nigger's a
nigger" (Wright, Richard. NativeSon. New York: Harper and Row, 1940.
154). Because of Bigger's blackness, it is immediately assumed that he
is responsible in some capacity. This assumption causes the reader to
sympathize with Bigger. While only a kidnapping or possible murder are
being investigated, once Bigger is fingered as the culprit, the
newspapers say the incident is "possibly a sex crime" (228). Eleven
pages later, Wright depicts bold black headlines proclaiming a "rapist"
(239) on the loose. Wright evokes compassion for Bigger, knowing that
he is this time unjustly accused. The reader...
...NativeSon - The Metamorphosis of Bigger Thomas
NativeSon - The Metamorphosis of Bigger Thomas
In the turn of the century, the time of Bigger Thomas, the roles of black men and women in America were heavily restricted compared to the white population. Black people were also still treated unequally and dealt with as ignorant fools. Richard Wright's novel, NativeSon, embraces this knowledge and follows the reaction of one angry man as he manages the delights of his exploits and the consequences of his deeds. Challenging pressures and stereotypes, Bigger believes he understands the world and that he is completely in control, unperturbed by anything or anyone. Although he is blind to society in essence, Bigger is deeply influenced by his oppression, exemplified by his actions, escape, and eventual demise.
From the beginning, Bigger is a visibly shaken young man, extremely fearful of the society in which he is forced to inhabit. While a cowardly lion at heart, he often bares his teeth, shows his claws, and occasionally growls to save face, all in an effort to prove to his friends and peers that he is not, in fact, scared of his life. This is plainly illustrated when his friend Gus says, "You see, Bigger, you the cause of all the trouble we ever have. Ain't I got a right to make up my mind? Naw; that ain't your way. You start cussing. You say I'm scared. It's you who's scared!"...
...The Tragedy of Self-Awareness in Nativeson
Richard Wright’s NativeSon is about the cost of suffering and sacrifices which one man, defined as the Other from the mainstream of society, must pay in order to live as a full human being in a world that denies him the right to live with dignity. As a social being, Bigger Thomas is completely deprived himself because he is unable to find his social and self-esteemed values both in the stunted ghetto life and in the oppression of racist society. Therefore, the only way Bigger can express himself is through violence and rebellion: Wright views Bigger’s tragic destiny as the evidence which directly reflects the violence of a racist society. Eventually, in NativeSon, Wight’s accusation is directed toward the systematized oppression applied by the white people, designed to keep the blacks from advancing and attaining their fullest potentialities.
Wright’s major purpose in NativeSon is to show how tyrannical racist society oppresses the external and internal condition of Bigger Thomas, and how Bigger’s existence is distorted in that oppressive condition. Under the external oppression, black people come to inevitably go through an inner refraction, extremely internalizing the external oppression into the self, at the same time. On that account, self-hatred, shame and impotence are produced. Bigger’s existence, also,...
Professor Heather Russell
Racism and the Oppressed Black Man—Bigger Thomas
In 20th Century African-American Literature, the students were instructed to write a critical analysis on one of five texts reviewed throughout the course. This paper will provide an analytical approach on the concept of race and identity as reflected in, Richard Wright’s, NativeSon. Bigger Thomas’ instinct for survival plays a key role for the reasons behind his actions in this novel. Was it mere survival instinct that jolted Bigger to murder? Or did he, as he mentioned— “kill for something”? Whether the instinct was survival or “for something”, Bigger was driven to murder and showed little regret for his actions.
Author Richard Wright, provides a fictional account of a young black man, Bigger Thomas, born and raised in poverty. As the protagonist of NativeSon, the reader is enthralled by the struggles faced by Thomas as a result of his horrid choices. The nature of his environment facilitated his rebellious behavior and an ill-fated circumstance with a wealthy white woman, led to his ultimate demise.
By the mere age of twenty, Thomas’ life revolved around petty crimes and acts of illicit behavior. His job as a chauffeur for a wealthy family introduced him to Mary Dalton, his first victim. Dalton’s inappropriate behavior, for example her interrogation of Bigger’s life style,...
...Richard Wright was determined to make a profound statement. In his novel, NativeSon, he endeavors to present the “horror of Negro life in the United States” (Wright xxxiii). By addressing such a significant topic, he sought to write a book that “no one would weep over; that would be so hard and deep that they would have to face it without the consolation of tears” (xxvii). NativeSon is a commentary on the poverty and helplessness experienced by blacks in America, and it illustrates the abhorrent ways that blacks were treated, describes their awful living conditions and calls attention to the half-hearted efforts offered by white sympathizers. Told from the perspective of his character Bigger Thomas, Wright crafts a story depicting the oppressive lives endured by Negroes and makes it so despicable that it grabs the attention of the reader and forces him to reevaluate the state of society. There is much in this novel that would cause a reader to cry, but, to Wright’s point, the topic is so significant that it resonates more deeply and elicits a deeper response.
Bigger Thomas is the protagonist of the novel, but, to Wright, Bigger also exemplifies African Americans of the time. He is barely educated, struggling to find meaningful work and living in an overcrowded slum with his family; just like many others around him. Bigger is frustrated with his place in life and finds it difficult to understand why the...
April 2, 2014
Richard Wright, The NativeSon
Wright’s novel describe life of black people back in the 1930’s. wright’s has made an outstanding literature work revealing to the reader the racist persecution of the black with the help of naturalism. from the very beginning the influence on naturalism on this book can be easily observed. wright does not give us even a tiny hope the he will get an illusion of happieness he so much used to. wright is very suitable for the use of naturalism on his novel.
The nativeson consist of three parts: “fear”, “fight”, and “fate”.
GWright, Richard (4 Sept. 1908-28 Nov. 1960), author, was born Richard Nathaniel Wright on Rucker's Plantation, between Roxie and Natchez, Mississippi, the son of Nathaniel Wright, an illiterate sharecropper, and Ella Wilson, a schoolteacher. When Wright was five, his father left the family and his mother was forced to take domestic jobs away from the house. Wright and his brother spent a period at an orphanage. Around 1920 Ella Wright became a paralytic, and the family moved from Natchez to Jackson, then to Elaine, Arkansas, and back to Jackson to live with Wright's maternal grandparents, who were restrictive Seventh-day Adventists. Wright moved from school to school, graduating from the ninth grade at the Smith Robertson Junior High School in Jackson as the class...