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Native Son

Average Rating 4.5
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(94)

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(39)

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(15)

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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 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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  • 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 September 9, 2006

    Native Son Review

    At some points I enjoyed reading this book and at others it was very confusing.The scenes would change dramatically and I wouldn't understand what had gone on before.I don't recall reading any other books by this author but I would like to to see the different styles written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2006

    True Realistic Intensity

    Richard Wright¿s novel, Native Son, is an intense and thought-provoking narrative. His style of writing captures the reader's attention, keeping them captivated throughout the entire storyline. Once I started reading this book, I was mesmerized by the intense detail and horrifying descriptions of events. I was awestruck by the happenings as the drama emerged from the life of Bigger Thomas, the main character and focus of this novel. As Bigger¿s life unfolds in a chain reaction of unfortunate happenings, the intensity builds up and explodes into unthinkable substance. The intensity of Wright¿s novel is fascinating to the mind. The events in this book are explained through vast detail and intriguing expression. The start of the novel itself is foreshadowing a violent and forceful plot because it focuses on anger and disgust. Many wrongdoings and unintentional actions are brought forth as Bigger is pushed into a racially segregated society. His mind is far beyond the idea of ever trying to fit in with society, as he is subconsciously forced to carry out unimaginable actions. Bigger is forced with a struggle between himself and everyone else, and he tries to maintain a level of structure, though he fails miserably. While Bigger was growing up, he learned all of the wrong ways of doing things. He was pushed into the cracks of civilization and was not being treated as a human being, but rather as a disgrace to the population. His entire race was looked down upon, which caused Bigger to build up hatred deep inside of him. Whenever he was pushed to the breaking point, he resorted to anger and violence because it was all he¿d ever known. Bigger¿s subconscious self was scorched and burned with anger and cruelty towards others. Throughout the novel, Bigger¿s inner aggressiveness was tested and aggravated many times through the acts of others. Instead of waiting and thinking things through, Bigger jumped right to the immoral conclusions. He committed unthinkable acts because of his pure drive of anger, which was actually caused by the people whom he committed these acts against. Bigger¿s actions projected true hatred and disgust towards him, which caused him to carry out even more unimaginable proceedings. Reading Native Son brings forth more than just simple information it draws the readers into thinking about their own lives and what they would do if put in situations such as those in the novel. Bigger commits improbable misconduct, while forcing his internal self to deny the fact that he did anything immoral. The people reading this book ask themselves what they would think if they did the things that Bigger did, and how they would react to such intense events. The vast concept of Bigger¿s thoughts and actions come clearer while the readers are thinking about their own views on the situations presented in this novel. Wright¿s story is extremely graphic and detailed in such a strong and disturbing way. It is clearly written to trap the readers into the mind of Bigger Thomas, and convert them to feeling as if they are right there with him. The style of writing by Wright brings forth a strong sense of being able to relate well to the story. It¿s almost as if readers can physically see what is going on during the novel, and feel every ounce of guilt and disgust that Bigger is feeling. This book does a great job in drawing the reader into the heated action of this deep and alarming story. Native Son is tremendously extreme, and raises many thought-provoking questions to readers about their own personal lives. While reading this novel, I came across many times where I asked myself what I would do in certain situations and how I would feel if I acted in specific ways. Bigger¿s guilt is brought on by a subconscious reflection of his own self. Readers of this novel are doing the same thing by digging into their deepest thoughts and analyzing what they truly think of such intense events. Native Son was an ext

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2006

    this book is not for everyone

    Native Son is a novel written by Richard Wright in 1940 about a young, black boy named Bigger Thomas, struggling to find a way to release himself from a horrible predicament he had gotten into. In general, this book moved fast and kept you on the edge of your seat, however, it was vulgar and at times, offensive. I enjoyed parts of this book, but as a whole, I would not recommend it. Native Son starts very abruptly with an alarm clock ringing out in the darkness. This is very different from most of the novels that I have read. Most books begin in a more poetic tone, but Native Son starts in a rather annoying manner. After the boisterous beginning, the book then continues to follow Bigger in his day-to-day activities and discussions. Bigger is a troubled, young man who, in my opinion, does not see his potential. However, Bigger finally gets a job working as a chauffer for the Dalton family: Mr. Dalton, Mrs. Dalton, and their daughter Mary. This is when all of Bigger¿s real problems begin. On his first night of work, Bigger had been told to take Mary Dalton to the University for a lecture, but while driving her there, she changed her plans. She had Bigger take her to meet her boyfriend Jan and rather than going to the University, the three of them, Bigger, Mary, and Jan, go for a trip through the ghetto. Later that night Bigger, Jan, and Mary, all go out to eat and they all end up getting drunk. After dropping Jan off, Bigger continues on his way to take Mary home. After letting her out of the car and seeing her nearly collapse while trying to climb the stairs, Bigger decides to help Mary to her room. While Bigger is helping Mary up the stairs to her room, Mary and Bigger become a little too friendly and begin kissing. Mrs. Dalton catches them, but she is blind and unable to see Bigger standing over Mary¿s bed. In a mad rush to cover his tracks, Bigger forces a pillow over Mary¿s face in order to keep her from telling her mother that he is there with her. Mary thrashes around on the bed, but eventually Mary¿s body becomes limp and stops moving. After Mrs. Dalton leaves the room, Bigger slowly removes the pillow from Mary¿s face and finds her dead. He had smothered her to death. Trying to cover his tracks again, Bigger comes up with numerous solutions and ideas, but he finally just burns Mary¿s body and blames it on Jan. Rather than running away, Bigger stays for a while, in order to keep suspicion off of him. Bigger becomes somewhat overconfident and begins to make mistakes. He figures that if he blames it on Jan, he can also blame it on the communist party and ask for ransom money. Eventually, Bigger tells Bessie and she becomes scared. Bigger decides to kill Bessie before he leaves so that he can go alone and not have to worry about her holding him back or having to worry about her telling the police about his plans. Then, while Bessie is sleeping, Bigger grabs a brick and smashes it over Bessie¿s face. Bigger thought that he had killed her, but he had only rendered her unconscious and incapable of moving or calling for help. After almost killing Bessie, Bigger finds himself trapped. The police are searching the building that he is hiding in and in his mad attempt to escape, Bigger knocks a cop out and takes off running. Despite all of his best attempts at escape, Bigger is caught and sent to prison. While sitting in a jail cell, Jan walks in and offers Bigger some help with the trial. Bigger accepts the help and Jan introduces him to Max, a lawyer. Despite all of his best efforts, Max is unable to help Bigger. The reader never truly knows what happens to Bigger, but one can speculate that he is put to death for the murder of, not just one, but two, innocent girls. In conclusion, this book is fast-paced and rarely stops to take a breath, but has unnecessary profanity or vulgarity within its pages. I would probably not recommend this book to people, unless they were able to overl

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2006

    Native Son

    'Native Son', is a story about a black man named Bigger Thomas, living a typical black man's life in Chicago during the 1930's. Later he is commited for the killing of a young white girl. He has no money to run away and finds no place to hide. Will Bigger Thomas be sentenced to death? I found this story good, but not original. 'Native Son' came across as a typical plot that contains the main character dealing with racial issues. As usual the character deals with these issues in a way that puts himself or herself in trouble. I recommend this book to readers that enjoy reading racial or predjudice conflicts.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2005

    Good Start Bad Finish

    The book is a fast paced read and the opening is very exciting. The book takes a turn for the worst mid-way. It is difficult to relate to a narrator who is a vicious killer with no morals. Wright works a little too hard to get his message- Bigger is a product of society- across to readers.

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    Posted July 16, 2011

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