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A brief review of richard wrights novel native son

Parents say

Being this way was a need of his as deep as eating. He was like a strange plant blooming in the day and wilting at night; but the sun that made it bloom and the cold darkness that made it wilt were never seen.

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It was his own sun and darkness, a private and personal sun and darkness. There is so much going on it has been hard for me to write a coherent review but I feel compelled to write down some of my thoughts, regardless of how disjointed they may be.

Richard Wright

The story starts off with a poor black family trying to kill a rat in their apartment, it reeks of poverty from the start and quickly materializes into showing us the dark side of racist American society. The mind-numbing lives black people had to live was clearly illustrated from the start. The drugs, alcohol, women, pool playing, cheap movies, religion. If that hadn't been going on, the book would still have been horrific, but with it, it was even more visceral.

Native Son

It would have been more satisfying to have finished reading the book and said, "Thank God all that crazy racism stuff is over," but watch the news on any given day and you know it's alive and well. I was fascinated by how the whites and blacks interacted. They made them appear so simplistic, almost like children.

On the other hand, Mary, the daughter, did not really understand that her being overly friendly to Bigger, or inviting him to eat with her, was actually making him uncomfortable and could cause serious repercussions for him. In her privileged position she failed to have much empathy or understanding for Bigger. The psychological aspects of race and poverty is not something they understood, coming from privileged backgrounds.

There was the lack of privacy the poor had, the fact that their lives were so clearly on display and that they had little to no control over their lives that made Jan and Mary's actions particularly degrading.

Review of Native Son by Richard Wright

To be honest, this book scared me. It scared me because it showed that you can have groups of people living in close proximity, yet not knowing anything about each other, instead holding on to an alien image of the other: As long as he and his black folks did not go beyond certain limits, there was no need to fear that white force.

But whether they feared it or not, each and every day of their lives they lived with it; even when words did not sound its name, they acknowledged its reality.

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As long as they lived here in this prescribed corner of the city, they paid mute tribute to it. It scared me that the coloured body can be exploited, even in death. Poor Bessie, she said: And to make matters even worse, in death her body is exploited. What made her death even sadder and more tragic was this: I don't think I will ever forget it.