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Native Son Analysis

Uploaded by Alicia07 on Oct 24, 2006

Native Son Literary Analysis







Richard Wright’s controversial Native Son was an overnight classic when released in 1940. This story of a young black man’s struggle in 1930’s Chicago is one that still echoes throughout the generations. Through his unique uses of symbolism and motifs, Wright reveals to a wide audience the dilemmas and hardships that African-Americans endured and still struggle with today. Through Native Son, Wright boldly addresses the issues that many others will not. Native Son focuses on the injustices and effects of racism on both the oppressed, oppressors, and the social blindness of the characters. These fundamental themes are woven masterfully throughout the novel by the development of the characters and addition of literary elements.



In 1930’s Chicago, we are taken into the downward spiral that consumes the life of Bigger Thomas. Twenty-year-old Bigger struggles to support his mother and siblings while also searching for his sense of identity in a world overrun by white men. However, due to the fact that Bigger’s father abandoned him at a young age, it is difficult to provide for his family. Eventually, Bigger reluctantly takes a job as a chauffeur for an extremely wealthy and sympathetic Mr. Dalton, who even donates money to charities in favor of Negroes. On Bigger’s first night of the job, he is instructed to drive Mr. Dalton’s daughter, Mary, to the local university. Mary, on the other hand, instructs him otherwise and has him pick up her boyfriend, Jan. To much of Bigger’s confusion, they friendly offer him drinks and take him out to eat. When the night is over and Jan has gone, Bigger escorts a drunk Miss. Dalton to her room where she proceeds to pass out on her bed. While Bigger lays her to sleep, the physically blind Mrs. Dalton inopportunely enters the room, and a panicked Bigger accidentally smothers Mary in attempt to silence her murmurs, which could have revealed his presence. With Bigger left with the lifeless daughter of a white millionaire, he struggles to conceal his crime and avoid the fatal consequences. And whilst on his overall journey to escape conviction, we are clued into the machinery and workings of Bigger Thomas.



Bigger Thomas has lived a life of fear and rage as a direct result of his oppression and confinement. While revealing his most sincere self to his attorney, Boris A. Max, Bigger comments that,



(White people) Well, they own everything. They...

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Uploaded by:   Alicia07

Date:   10/24/2006

Category:   Literature

Length:   10 pages (2,160 words)

Views:   2604

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