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The life of biggers life in richard wrights native son

Both deal seriously and powerfully with the problem of social maladjustment, with environment and individual behavior, and subsequently with crime and punishment. The pattern in both books is similar: The conclusion in both is that society is to blame, that the environment into which each was born forced upon them their crimes, that they were the particular victims of a general injustice.

The startling difference in Mr.

What elements of Wright's life are mirrored in Book One of Native Son based on his biography?

Wright allows Bigger a brief moment of illumination into his hopeless condition before he is finally whipped out of the world. It will be obvious, then, that Mr. Wright has the simpler and more melodramatic story. Where Dreiser broods slowly and patiently over the intricate social scene, Mr.

Wright leaps at the glaring injustice of the racial code, takes it by the throat and spills blood in every direction. His story is direct, lurid and alarming; in effect it is the bloodiest and most brutal story of the year; it makes the reader realize and respond to, as he has probably never done before, the actual, dangerous status of the Negro in America.

His intent destruction of the rat is a characteristic act.

  • The startling difference in Mr;
  • The conclusion in both is that society is to blame, that the environment into which each was born forced upon them their crimes, that they were the particular victims of a general injustice;
  • Bigger, then, in a sense is scarcely more precipitant than the rat he had killed at the beginning of the story;
  • Wright, forty years old and overweight, had to train and stretch verisimilitude to play the nineteen-year-old Bigger;
  • Mencken, which struck him with particular force;
  • The conclusion in both is that society is to blame, that the environment into which each was born forced upon them their crimes, that they were the particular victims of a general injustice.

Later in the day we see him in a poolroom savagely attacking one of his gang as they are planning a hold-up. Fear of the consequences drives him into this assertive brutality.

  • A Critical Handbook 1970 ; C;
  • As a Negro he will be the first suspect, but Jan, the Communist, he considers, is almost an equal object of mob hatred;
  • The story is a strong and powerful one and it alone will force the Negro issue into our attention;
  • But there seems to be some hope for Bigger and his family.

It makes him feel easier to hit something. His obscure fears are replaced for the moment by the exhilaration of mere physical power.

Native Son by Richard Wright

Dalton has given millions for social welfare, earmarked particularly for the Negro cause, for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, although most of it has dribbled into ping-pong tables in exemplary social clubs and the like. Bigger knows nothing about this, nor does he know that a good part of Mr. Bigger gets the job easily, and all the more easily because he record includes an early sentence for thievery to reform school.

The Daltons plan to reform him still more. Before her marriage Mrs. Dalton had been a school mistress. On the night of the first day Bigger is to drive the daughter Mary to a university lecture.

Native Son Questions and Answers

Mary has gone a little farther than her parents in practical sociology and directs Bigger to drive to Communist headquarters instead of the university. There she meets a practically perfect Communist, who shakes Bigger's hand and wants to be called by his first name, Jan.

They drive together in the front seat to a Negro restaurant, drink a good deal, drive around the park while Jan and Mary make love, and finally Bigger brings a very drunk Mary home in the car about 2 in the morning, with a package of Communist pamphlets from Jan in his pocket. How Bigger inadvertently murdered Mary that same night can be told only in the words that Mr.

The necessary point is that he found he had killed her out of fear, out of his certain knowledge that he would be suspected unjustly of having raped the girl.

Unconsciously he exerts more strength than he realizes.

  1. Native Son continues to be regarded as Wright's greatest novel and most influential book. He worked during 1949-1951 on a film version of Native Son, in which he himself played Bigger.
  2. In 1957 he put together a collection of his lectures given between 1950 and 1956 in Europe, White Man, Listen! Sun Mar 18 12.
  3. It will be argued, and I think with truth, that his character, Bigger, is made far too articulate, that he explains much too glibly in the latter part of the story how he came to meet his fate. At the trial in Book III Bigger is never convicted for Bessie's murder, but only for the assumed rape of Mary, deemed to be a more serious crime than even Mary's murder.
  4. Wright's books published during the 1950s disappointed some critics, who said that his move to Europe alienated him from American blacks and thus separated him from his emotional and psychological roots.

Mary is dead when Mrs. Dalton, believing that her daughter is merely drunk, leaves the bedroom without having discovered Bigger. The body he burns in the furnace, the head cut off with a hatchet because he cannot force it in, the exhaust fan switched on to clear the air of the basement of the smell of burning flesh.

As a Negro he will be the first suspect, but Jan, the Communist, he considers, is almost an equal object of mob hatred. He has been told by the politicians that the Reds are the dirtiest kind of criminals; he can easily throw the blame on Jan by asserting that Jan also went home with the girl, he can even collect kidnapping money on the pretense that Mary is still alive. This, one might say, is a typically criminal mind, but it is Mr.

He commits another crime this time merely the murder of his Negro mistress to cover his tracks, but it is now only a matter of time between his flight and his fate. A Jewish Communist lawyer makes a brilliant speech in his defense, but there is nothing to be done save an attempt at explanation. Wright has done with this sensational criminal story is extremely interesting.

  • During the mid-1950s Wright traveled extensively--to Africa, Asia, and Spain--and wrote several nonfiction works on political and sociological topics;
  • Bigger, then, in a sense is scarcely more precipitant than the rat he had killed at the beginning of the story;
  • In Chicago Wright worked at the post office, at Michael Reese Hospital taking care of lab animals, and as an insurance agent, among other jobs.

Dorothy Canfield Fisher, who writes a preface for the book, explains Bigger partly in terms of the neuroses and psychopathic upsets in animals that we have read about in the research-psychology journals. Bigger, then, in a sense is scarcely more precipitant than the rat he had killed at the beginning of the story. Fisher continues with an excerpt from Owen D. Wright has done is to turn this dry phraseology into the living language of today, into a person, not a personality adjustment, into a scene, a drama, a memorable experience.

It will be argued, and I think with truth, that his character, Bigger, is made far too articulate, that he explains much too glibly in the latter part of the story how he came to meet his fate: Now I come to think of it, it seems like something like this just had to be.

It must have been good! Dreiser was wiser in allowing the reader to think out Clyde Griffiths in his own realistic terms: But this is a minor fault in a good cause. The story is a strong and powerful one and it alone will force the Negro issue into our attention.