Customer Reviews for

Native Son

Average Rating 4.5
( 159 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(93)

4 Star

(39)

3 Star

(15)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(6)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Potent Read

Along with Invisible Man, Native Son is another powerful story that has schooled me on what W.E.B. Du Bois might have meant by "double consciouness": African Americans' tendency to see themselves through the eyes of others. Bigger, the main character, judges himself by ...
Along with Invisible Man, Native Son is another powerful story that has schooled me on what W.E.B. Du Bois might have meant by "double consciouness": African Americans' tendency to see themselves through the eyes of others. Bigger, the main character, judges himself by society's stereotypes, and a profound fear of whites drives his every action (including a heinous crime so vividly described I had to put the book down for awhile). It's mind-boggling and tragic to think how much a person can truly become what society expects and assumes he'll be. Difficult story to swallow; an emotional, memorable read.

posted by bluetulip18 on October 9, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Raw Read

Native Son was the hardest book to read that I've ever read. It was so detailed about negative emotions and vile acts that I had to stop reading and found it at times hard to go on. I read it of my own free will and don't feel I wasted time but would have enjoyed anothe...
Native Son was the hardest book to read that I've ever read. It was so detailed about negative emotions and vile acts that I had to stop reading and found it at times hard to go on. I read it of my own free will and don't feel I wasted time but would have enjoyed another book better. It's to negative for me even if the point is very original and dramatic,it's a great debate to a side I do not agree with but see it's points.

posted by rapragdoll on January 15, 2009

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  • Posted October 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Potent Read

    Along with Invisible Man, Native Son is another powerful story that has schooled me on what W.E.B. Du Bois might have meant by "double consciouness": African Americans' tendency to see themselves through the eyes of others. Bigger, the main character, judges himself by society's stereotypes, and a profound fear of whites drives his every action (including a heinous crime so vividly described I had to put the book down for awhile). It's mind-boggling and tragic to think how much a person can truly become what society expects and assumes he'll be. Difficult story to swallow; an emotional, memorable read.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 16, 2009

    A Must Read!

    Richard Wright¿s depiction on race relations in the 1940's was parallel to the thinking of most Black and White Americans today. We saw that with the newly elected president. I found this book a much needed read, not to conjure up racial tension but as a reminder of how we, Black and White Americans need to continue to strive for racial equality. He talked about how the price of food is higher in one section than another, how redlining occured than, which is another parallel of today¿s housing market. I, as a teacher, will use this book as a teaching tool to inspire my children to release pinned up anger by talking to an adult or someone they trust; use Bigger's lack of education to inspire them to stay in school. There are so many teaching tools that you can be pulled from this book and used as inspiration. The relevance of this book is still very useful today. It is a great read, I couldn't put it down.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 15, 2009

    Raw Read

    Native Son was the hardest book to read that I've ever read. It was so detailed about negative emotions and vile acts that I had to stop reading and found it at times hard to go on. I read it of my own free will and don't feel I wasted time but would have enjoyed another book better. It's to negative for me even if the point is very original and dramatic,it's a great debate to a side I do not agree with but see it's points.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Incredible

    I am one to shy away from books about race. A lot of times I find it hard to relate or I find them to be boring or too graphic. I read this book because it was on a list of the 100 best books ever written and it is my goal to read them all to check out the hype. I really did not want to read Native Son.
    From the first sentence of the first page I knew this was going to be something special. Wright's writing is captivating and the characters he builds are so real. Even if you cannot relate to this book personally, you will be able to relate to the emotions the main character Bigger Thomas is feeling. It is an amazing thing to be engrossed so deeply into a book as I was with this one. The plot is unique, especially as far as books about race go. Surprisingly this is also a very fast read. For a couple reasons: you cannot put it down and it is written very matter-of-fact.
    I can see why kids in high school might not want to read this. It's long and seems out of date. To be honest it might even go over a lot of the heads in a regular English class. I feel like this novel is for anyone though. It's important. This book is on my list of best books ever...which only had 11 books prior. That is a big deal! Read it :)

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    An important work

    Replacing a copy misplaced, some time ago. I re-read native son and was again struck by the deft way in which I was driven to care for a character completely lacking in redeeming qualities. The trick, well executed, was in the way Mr. Wright provided an understated context for Bigger Thomas that explained, not excused, his wrongs.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    difficult read...

    ...well, because of the content...not the writing. I made myself finish it, but now I'm glad I did. It made me read more about the author, then I could understand why he wrote what he did, like he did. I will look up some of his other works. I would bet that I feel much the same about them, too. :) I can see why this book gives classes and book clubs discussion material.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2012

    Favorite author

    One of my favorite books in the world besides black boy and autobbiography of malcolm x

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2008

    Angry and Disturbing, if you're into that sort of thing

    I read this book for a class I'm taking online. I was so excited to read it, as a fan of other novels on race relations 'To Kill a Mockingbird, etc', but the book was so disturbing and angry it was a difficult read. My professor said that Wright wrote this novel with a grudge on his mind--hatred towards the whites who hated blacks, anger at the Communist party with it's high ideals and little participation in de-segregation, anger at blacks who fell into racist traps and ended up ruining their lives, etc. Basically, while I saw the purpose of this novel, it didn't come far in terms of enjoyment and entertainment.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2014

    Review of Native Son by Will on May 25, 2014 Native Son was a ve

    Review of Native Son by Will on May 25, 2014
    Native Son was a very powerful and inspirational book that discussed the clashes of races in America. Richard Wright, a 
    very controversial author wrote many books about the clash between whites and blacks. Wright was obviously a huge supporter 
    for desegregating the population of America. This book demonstrates the unequal treatment of blacks in the mid 1900's  and the start to 
    what we now know as racism. I can relate the theme of this book to the struggles of society today, dealing with cliques and the bullying that
     is associated with these different groups. 
    This novel is broken up into three different books which separate the main issues in the novel. The first book discusses some of the 
    troubles and the terrible life and hardships that blacks had to face in this time period. The main character, Bigger Thomas gets into trouble
     with the law in Book One. The novel climaxes in Book Two and ends with a resolution in Book Three. 
    This book was a very interesting read because of the perspective that was shown from a African American author. 
    This book is absolutely related to the racism that we have in society today. As a white person myself it truly understood the hardships that
    blacks had to face to get to the point where they are now. This book made me absolutely against racism and every person on this world should be
    treated equally. This book is a must read to be able to understand the injustices of society. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2013

    KORI

    I have read his book, Black Boy, so this should be also a good book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2013

    Travelingwind

    She ride in on a large, graceful black stallion, her black hair shifted and fluttered in the the breeze. Her skin was a dark caramel color and here eyes a sparkling grass green.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2012

    Native son was a phenomenal book, and although I read it out of

    Native son was a phenomenal book, and although I read it out of requirement I wouldn't hesitate to read it again. The story is moving, and the characters are built up in a way you find yourself caring for them despite some of their actions. It also keeps you on your toes, entertaining and surprising you along the way. The language Wright uses is so descriptive your in Bigger Thomas' head from the beginning, rooting for him during the trial and screaming at him when he smothers the Dalton's daughter Mary. Not only do you see the way black's felt back then and how white's viewed them, but also their hatred toward communists. It's a must read.

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  • Posted July 29, 2012

    Great recording

    The reader has an excellent voice.

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  • Posted June 24, 2012

    Jolyce Tarver Literary Review

    Jolyce Tarver
    Literary Review
    Native Son by Richard Wright
    This 1930s Chicago scene book is by far the best of its time. Bigger Thomas an African American twenty-year old man, the protagonist is introduced to the reader immediately with a clear-cut and believable background. As we continue to read, more characters are introduced and are far from unrealistic. The author’s descriptions are very detailed, which results in an easier and more effective way for the reader to envision these characters and different scenarios.
    “Bigger’s heart was pounding, but he tried to keep his face and voice under control. He did not want to seem unduly excited over the new developments. He was wondering if Jan could really prove that he had not been here last night”(198). This is one of many scenes that create an intense emotion in your body. You can literally feel like you are right in the person’s body, feeling and thinking exactly what the character is. This book is such a page-turner and nothing flat is existent.
    Throughout this book we got so angry with Bigger Thomas when he made terrible decisions, like choosing to rob a bank instead of going to his interview. We were excited when he obtained a decent job, which paid him a little extra. I was nervous and worried for Bigger when he was in hiding for committing multiple murders. This book is completely realistic and one hundred percent believable. Richard Wright has done an excellent job in scene selection and details to support his creative work.
    The way Richard Wright explains scenes, develops a strong storyline, and includes realistic characters are exquisite. From the incident at the restaurant with Jan and Mary, to the dumping of Mary’s body in the furnace is completely detailed and keeps you wanting more. Also the rape and murder of his girlfriend Bessie and the trial was completely breathtaking. “I didn’t do it!” Bigger screamed. “Why keep saying that? If you talk maybe the judge’ll help you” (286). From beginning to end I can’t say that there is one part in this book that I was confused or felt like it needed something extra. I enjoyed the Native Son by Richard Wright very much, one of the best stories I’ve ever read.

    Works Cited

    Wright, Richard. Native Son. New York: Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc. 1940. Print.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2011

    A must-read classic!

    This book belongs in everyone's personal library. Although lengthy and at times long-winded, the author's writing was both lyrical and expressive. I found myself fascinated by the main character, as well as those around him. This book would be an ideal choice for a book club selection. I've read other books by Richard Wright and have been pleased with all of them. Highly recommended!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 8, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    The Definition of Beautiful Novel Is This Book!

    I've never understood how a novel can be described as "beautiful", but now that I have read this book, I can understand what critics mean when they say that a novel is beautiful. This is just one of the few classics recommended to me by my father, and I was hooked to this one. The story revolves around Bigger Thomas, a dirt-poor, 20-year old black man who lives with his family in the South Side of Chicago in the 1930s, a time when America was divided between blacks and whites. He accidentally commits one murder, but I'm not going to tell you who, because then you won't enjoy it, which leads him to commit another, and mayhem ensues. There are so many different angles to look at it from and you enjoy it in every way possible. What I really like, though, about this book is that you can actually feel the way Bigger feels and you can actually connect with him. This book is definitely for ANYONE ages 13 and up. The best choice for book clubs as well. I think I would read stuff by Richard Wright based on my experiences with this one.

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  • Posted January 21, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    A Masterpiece of Art

    This piece is more than great. I think that all aspects of this novel were esquisite: character development, imagery, language and plot. This book is a thriller that keeps you excited throughout the reading. As a bonus, the story stimulates the mind by provoking one's intellect. I absolutely recommend this book!

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  • Posted August 21, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    One of the best novels ever written!

    I read this book in my Junior year of high school and I couldn't put it down! Although I love reading, I don't particularly prefer reading novels that are nearly 600 pages long! However, this book had me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end! The story started off slow, with the first 50 pages of the book detailing the life of the protagonist, Bigger Thomas. However, this part of the book was essential to the overall theme, which is revealed later on. Once he gets to the Dalton's house, the reader is taken on a 200 page thrill ride they will never forget! For the sake of future readers, I'm not going to mention what happens, but I will say that it is truly an eye opening experience - it shows the audience the negative effects of oppression and racism on human psychological well being. There are a few gruesome depictions recorded in this book, so I don't suggest that kids (or anyone else sensitive to gore) read this. But if you can get over the goriness, I promise you will not be disappointed reading this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2007

    if you need a book with good themes to write a paper on, this is it

    I hated the main charater, but he is not written to be liked, but to show what racisim produces. I felt bad for the mother and what she had to go through dealing with Bigger, and it made me cry. It is a good book that makes you think and the themes really stand out so if you need to write a paper or something, I recommend it. Even if you don't need to write a paper I recommend it. This is a little graphic though and sad, just warning you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2007

    A 'Must Read'

    social determinism at its worst- powerful story.

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