Native Son Mass Market Paperback – Import, 1 January 1900
Audio Cassette, Audiobook, Import
A more compelling story than Native Son has not been written in the 20th century by an American writer. That is not to say that Richard Wright created a novel free of flaws, but that he wrote the first novel that successfully told the most painful and unvarnished truth about American social and class relations. As Irving Howe asserted in 1963, "The day Native Son appeared, American culture was changed forever. It made impossible a repetition of the old lies [and] brought out into the open, as no one ever had before, the hatred, fear and violence that have crippled and may yet destroy our culture."
Other books had focused on the experience of growing up black in America--including Wright's own highly successful Uncle Tom's Children, a collection of five stories that focused on the victimization of blacks who transgressed the code of racial segregation. But they suffered from what he saw as a kind of lyrical idealism, setting up sympathetic black characters in oppressive situations and evoking the reader's pity. In Native Son, Wright was aiming at something more. In Bigger, he created a character so damaged by racism and poverty, with dreams so perverted, and with human sensibilities so eroded, that he has no claim on the reader's compassion:
"I didn't want to kill," Bigger shouted. "But what I killed for, I am! It must've been pretty deep in me to make me kill! I must have felt it awful hard to murder.... What I killed for must've been good!" Bigger's voice was full of frenzied anguish. "It must have been good! When a man kills, it's for something... I didn't know I was really alive in this world until I felt things hard enough to kill for 'em. It's the truth..."Wright's genius was that, in preventing us from feeling pity for Bigger, he forced us to confront the hopelessness, misery, and injustice of the society that gave birth to him. --Andrew Himes
Novel by Richard Wright, published in 1940. The novel addresses the issue of white American society's responsibility for the repression of blacks. The plot charts the decline of Bigger Thomas, a young African-American imprisoned for two murders--the accidental smothering of his white employer's daughter and the deliberate killing of his girlfriend to silence her. In his cell Thomas confronts his growing sense of injustice and concludes that violence is the only alternative to submission to white society. -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
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- Publisher : HarpPeren; Abridged edition (1 January 1900)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 432 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0060809779
- ISBN-13 : 978-0060809775
- Item Weight : 227 g
- Dimensions : 2.54 x 10.8 x 17.78 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #797,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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By Lalit Kumar on 17 September 2019
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In summary, I came to this book after reading "Black Boy" by the same author and I would recommend it if you like strong social comments in your novels.