Native Son

( 158 )

Overview

Widely acclaimed as one of the finest books ever written on race and class divisions in America, this powerful novel reflects the forces of poverty, injustice, and hopelessness that continue to shape out society.
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Native Son

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Overview

Widely acclaimed as one of the finest books ever written on race and class divisions in America, this powerful novel reflects the forces of poverty, injustice, and hopelessness that continue to shape out society.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Gloria Naylor
Native Son taught me that it's all right to have passion within your work.
Publishers Weekly

Wright's classic 1940 novel about a young African-American man who murders a white woman in 1930s Chicago is a truly remarkable literary accomplishment. Peter Francis James has never been better, bringing the character of Bigger Thomas to life in a profound and moving performance that is as touching as it is truthful. James's powerful baritone demands to be heard, captivating listeners with Wright's realistic portrayal of life in the inner city, capturing the mood of each and every scene. With moderate yet believable variations in tone and dialect for each of the characters, James ignites the collective imagination of his audience. Wright's novel is real, raw and brutally honest and James's reading follows suit. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Sacred Fire
Richard Wright was born in 1908, thc first of two sons of a sharecropper. After publishing his first novel, Uncle Tom's Children, in 1938, Wright discovered to his alarm that "he had written a book which even bankers" daughters could read and feel good about. He swore that his next novel would be different. That book was Native Son, the story of Bigger Thomas's short and tragic life, which plumbs the blackest depths of human experience.

Native Son is told in three parts &#8212Fear, Flight, and Fate&#8212 which sum up, perfectly, Bigger Thomas's life. Badly in need of a job to help support his family, the ne'er-do-well Bigger goes to work as a driver for the Daltons, a rich white family. As he is pulled every which way by his mother, who wanted him to do the things she wanted him to do; by Mrs. Dalton, who wanted him to do the things she felt that he should have wanted to do; by Mary Dalton, the young mistress of the house, who challenged him to stand up for things he didn&#39t understand; and by his need for independence and autonomy in the midst of a dependent situation—he missteps, accidentally killing Mary.

Native Son is not an uplifting book with a happy Hollywood resolution. It has been criticized for its cardboard portrayal of black pathology and heavy-handed Marxist message. But the book is an absolutely gripping potboiler that is also intellectually provocative. It is on one level a seedy, simple story of an unsympathetic character meeting his fate at his own hands, and on another an illuminating drama of an individual consciousness that challenges traditional definitions of heroism, character, and integrity. Bigger was less a character caught in a specific criminal activity than he was a crime waiting to happen.

Peter Monro Jack
The story is a strong and powerful one and it alone will force the Negro issue to our attention. Certainly, Native Son declares Richard Wright's importance, not merely as the best Negro writer, but as an American author as distinctive as any of those now writing.-- Books of the Century; New York Times review, March 1940
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060837563
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/2/2005
  • Series: Perennial Classics Series
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 60,785
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Wright
Richard Wright won international renown for his powerful and visceral depiction of the black experience. He stands today alongside such African-American luminaries as Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison, and two of his novels, Native Son and Black Boy, are required reading in high schools and colleges across the nation. He died in 1960.

Biography

Richard Wright won international renown for his powerful and visceral depiction of the black experience. He stands today alongside such African-American luminaries as Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison, and two of his novels, Native Son and Black Boy, are required reading in high schools and colleges across the nation. He died in 1960.

Author biography courtesy of HarperCollins.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Richard Nathaniel Wright (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 4, 1908
    2. Place of Birth:
      Near Natchez, Mississippi
    1. Date of Death:
      November 28, 1960
    2. Place of Death:
      Paris, France

Read an Excerpt

Native Son

Chapter One
Book One: Fear

Brrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinng!

An alarm clock clanged in the dark and silent room. A bed spring creaked. A woman's voice sang out impatiently:

"Bigger, shut that thing off!"

A surly grunt sounded above the tinny ring of metal. Naked feet swished dryly across the planks in the wooden floor and the clang ceased abruptly.

"Turn on the light, Bigger."

"Awright," came a sleepy mumble.

Light flooded the room and revealed a black boy standing in a narrow space between two iron beds, rubbing his eyes with the backs of his hands. From a bed to his right the woman spoke again:

"Buddy, get up from there! I got a big washing on my hands today and I want you-all out of here."

Another black boy rolled from bed and stood up. The woman also rose and stood in her nightgown.

"Turn your heads so I can dress," she said.

The two boys averted their eyes and gazed into a far comer of the room. The woman rushed out, of her nightgown and put on a pair of step-ins. She turned to the bed from which she had risen and called:

"Vera! Get up from there!"

"What time is it, Ma?" asked a muffled, adolescent voice from beneath a quilt.

"Get up from there, I say!"

"O.K., Ma."

A brown-skinned girl in a cotton gown got up and stretched her arms above her head and yawned. Sleepily, she sat on a chair and fumbled with her stockings. The two boys kept their faces averted while their mother and sister put on enough clothes to keep them from feeling ashamed; and the mother and sister did the same while the boysdressed. Abruptly, they all paused, holding their clothes in their hands, their attention caught by a light tapping in the thinly plastered walls of the room. They forgot their conspiracy against shame and their eyes strayed apprehensively over the floor.

"There he is again, Bigger!" the woman screamed, and the tiny, one-room apartment galvanized into violent action. A chair toppled as the woman, half-dressed and in her stocking feet, scrambled breathlessly upon the bed. Her two sons, barefoot, stood tense and motionless, their eyes searching anxiously under the bed and chairs. The girl ran into a corner, half-stooped and gathered the hem of her slip into both of her hands and held it tightly over her knees.

"Oh! Oh! " she waited.

"There he goes!"

The woman pointed a shaking finger. Her eyes were round with fascinated horror.

"Where?"

"I don't see 'im!"

"Bigger, he's behind the trunk!" the girl whimpered.

"Vera!" the woman screamed. "Get up here on the bed! Don't let that thing bite you!"

Frantically, Vera climbed upon the bed and the woman caught hold of her. With their arms entwined about each other, the black mother and the brown daughter gazed open-mouthed at the trunk in the corner.

Bigger looked round the room wildly, then darted to a curtain and swept it aside and grabbed two heavy iron skillets from a wall above a gas stove. He whirled and called softly to his brother, his eyes glued to the trunk.

"Buddy!"

"Yeah?"

"Here; take this skillet."

"O.K."

"Now, get over by the door!"

"O.K."

Buddy crouched by the door and held the iron skillet by its handle, his arm flexed and poised. Save for the quick, deep breathing of the four people, the room was quiet. Bigger crept on tiptoe toward the trunk with the skillet clutched stiffly in his hand, his eyes dancing and watching every inch of the wooden floor in front of him. He paused and, without moving an eye or muscle, called:

"Buddy!"

"Hunh?"

"Put that box in front of the hole so he can't get out!"

"O.K."

Buddy ran to a wooden box and shoved it quickly in front of a gaping hole in the molding and then backed again to the door, holding the skillet ready. Bigger eased to the trunk and peered behind it cautiously. He saw nothing. Carefully, he stuck out his bare foot and pushed the trunk a few inches.

"There he is!" the mother screamed again.

A huge black rat squealed and leaped at Bigger's trouser-leg and snagged it in his teeth, hanging on.

"Goddamn!" Bigger whispered fiercely, whirling and kicking out his leg with all the strength of his body. The force of his movement shook the rat loose and it sailed through the air and struck a wall. Instantly, it rolled over and leaped again. Bigger dodged and the rat landed against a table leg. With clenched teeth, Bigger held the skillet; he was afraid to hurl it, fearing that he might miss. The rat squeaked and turned and ran in a narrow circle, looking for a place to hide; it leaped again past Bigger and scurried on dry rasping feet to one side of the box and then to the other, searching for the hole. Then it turned and reared upon its hind legs.

"Hit 'im, Bigger!" Buddy shouted.

"Kill 'im! " the woman screamed.

The rat's belly pulsed with fear. Bigger advanced a step and the rat emitted a long thin song of defiance, its black beady eyes glittering, its tiny forefeet pawing the air restlessly. Bigger swung the skillet; it skidded over the floor, missing the rat, and clattered to a stop against a wall.

"Goddamn!"

The rat leaped. Bigger sprang to one side. The rat stopped under a chair and let out a furious screak. Bigger moved slowly backward toward the door.

"Gimme that skillet, Buddy," he asked quietly, not taking his eyes from the rat.

Buddy extended his hand. Bigger caught the skillet and lifted it high in the air. The rat scuttled across the floor and stopped again at the box and searched quickly for the hole; then it reared once more and bared long yellow fangs, piping shrilly, belly quivering.

Bigger aimed and let the skillet fly with a heavy grunt. There was a shattering of wood as the box caved in. The woman screamed and hid her face in her hands. Bigger tiptoed forward and peered.

"I got 'im," he muttered, his clenched teeth bared in a smile. "By God, I got 'im. "

He kicked the splintered box out of the way and the flat black body of the rat lay exposed, its two long yellow tusks showing distinctly. Bigger took a shoe and pounded the rat's head, crushing it, cursing hysterically:

"You sonofabitch!"

Native Son. Copyright (c) by Richard Wright . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Native Son (Abridged)
Chapter One
Book One: Fear


Brrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinng!

An alarm clock clanged in the dark and silent room. A bed spring creaked. A woman's voice sang out impatiently:

"Bigger, shut that thing off!"

A surly grunt sounded above the tinny ring of metal. Naked feet swished dryly across the planks in the wooden floor and the clang ceased abruptly.

"Turn on the light, Bigger."

"Awright," came a sleepy mumble.

Light flooded the room and revealed a black boy standing in a narrow space between two iron beds, rubbing his eyes with the backs of his hands. From a bed to his right the woman spoke again:

"Buddy, get up from there! I got a big washing on my hands today and I want you-all out of here."

Another black boy rolled from bed and stood up. The woman also rose and stood in her nightgown.

"Turn your heads so I can dress," she said.

The two boys averted their eyes and gazed into a far comer of the room. The woman rushed out, of her nightgown and put on a pair of step-ins. She turned to the bed from which she had risen and called:

"Vera! Get up from there!"

"What time is it, Ma?" asked a muffled, adolescent voice from beneath a quilt.

"Get up from there, I say!"

"O.K., Ma."

A brown-skinned girl in a cotton gown got up and stretched her arms above her head and yawned. Sleepily, she sat on a chair and fumbled with her stockings. The two boys kept their faces averted while their mother and sister put on enough clothes to keep them from feeling ashamed; and the mother and sister did the same while the boys dressed. Abruptly, they all paused, holding their clothes in their hands, their attention caught by a light tapping in the thinly plastered walls of the room. They forgot their conspiracy against shame and their eyes strayed apprehensively over the floor.

"There he is again, Bigger!" the woman screamed, and the tiny, one-room apartment galvanized into violent action. A chair toppled as the woman, half-dressed and in her stocking feet, scrambled breathlessly upon the bed. Her two sons, barefoot, stood tense and motionless, their eyes searching anxiously under the bed and chairs. The girl ran into a corner, half-stooped and gathered the hem of her slip into both of her hands and held it tightly over her knees.

"Oh! Oh! " she waited.

"There he goes!"

The woman pointed a shaking finger. Her eyes were round with fascinated horror.

"Where?"

"I don't see 'im!"

"Bigger, he's behind the trunk!" the girl whimpered.

"Vera!" the woman screamed. "Get up here on the bed! Don't let that thing bite you!"

Frantically, Vera climbed upon the bed and the woman caught hold of her. With their arms entwined about each other, the black mother and the brown daughter gazed open-mouthed at the trunk in the corner.

Bigger looked round the room wildly, then darted to a curtain and swept it aside and grabbed two heavy iron skillets from a wall above a gas stove. He whirled and called softly to his brother, his eyes glued to the trunk.

"Buddy!"

"Yeah?"

"Here; take this skillet."

"O.K."

"Now, get over by the door!"

"O.K."

Buddy crouched by the door and held the iron skillet by its handle, his arm flexed and poised. Save for the quick, deep breathing of the four people, the room was quiet. Bigger crept on tiptoe toward the trunk with the skillet clutched stiffly in his hand, his eyes dancing and watching every inch of the wooden floor in front of him. He paused and, without moving an eye or muscle, called:

"Buddy!"

"Hunh?"

"Put that box in front of the hole so he can't get out!"

"O.K."

Buddy ran to a wooden box and shoved it quickly in front of a gaping hole in the molding and then backed again to the door, holding the skillet ready. Bigger eased to the trunk and peered behind it cautiously. He saw nothing. Carefully, he stuck out his bare foot and pushed the trunk a few inches.

"There he is!" the mother screamed again.

A huge black rat squealed and leaped at Bigger's trouser-leg and snagged it in his teeth, hangingon.

"Goddamn!" Bigger whispered fiercely, whirling and kicking out his leg with all the strength of his body. The force of his movement shook the rat loose and it sailed through the air and struck a wall. Instantly, it rolled over and leaped again. Bigger dodged and the rat landed against a table leg. With clenched teeth, Bigger held the skillet; he was afraid to hurl it, fearing that he might miss. The rat squeaked and turned and ran in a narrow circle, looking for a place to hide; it leaped again past Bigger and scurried on dry rasping feet to one side of the box and then to the other, searching for the hole. Then it turned and reared upon its hind legs.

"Hit 'im, Bigger!" Buddy shouted.

"Kill 'im! " the woman screamed.

The rat's belly pulsed with fear. Bigger advanced a step and the rat emitted a long thin song of defiance, its black beady eyes glittering, its tiny forefeet pawing the air restlessly. Bigger swung the skillet; it skidded over the floor, missing the rat, and clattered to a stop against a wall.

"Goddamn!"

The rat leaped. Bigger sprang to one side. The rat stopped under a chair and let out a furious screak. Bigger moved slowly backward toward the door.

"Gimme that skillet, Buddy," he asked quietly, not taking his eyes from the rat.

Buddy extended his hand. Bigger caught the skillet and lifted it high in the air. The rat scuttled across the floor and stopped again at the box and searched quickly for the hole; then it reared once more and bared long yellow fangs, piping shrilly, belly quivering.

Bigger aimed and let the skillet fly with a heavy grunt. There was a shattering of wood as the box caved in. The woman screamed and hid her face in her hands. Bigger tiptoed forward and peered.

"I got 'im," he muttered, his clenched teeth bared in a smile. "By God, I got 'im. "

He kicked the splintered box out of the way and the flat black body of the rat lay exposed, its two long yellow tusks showing distinctly. Bigger took a shoe and pounded the rat's head, crushing it, cursing hysterically:

"You sonofabitch!"

Native Son (Abridged). Copyright © by Richard A. Wright. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Reading Group Guide

Plot Summary
Impoverished, angry, and poorly educated, Bigger Thomas drifts around the seedy South Side of Chicago until he finds work chauffeuring a wealthy, liberal white family named the Daltons. On his first evening of work, Bigger drives the Daltons' college-age daughter Mary and her Communist boyfriend Jan Erlone around town while the two of them get drunk. Bigger carries the intoxicated Mary to her bedroom and becomes sexually aroused while putting her to bed; when Mrs. Dalton, who is blind, comes to the door, Bigger silences Mary by covering her face with a pillow and inadvertently smothers her to death. He burns her corpse in the furnace and desperately tries to destroy evidence of the crime and frame Erlone for it, but when a reporter discovers Mary's bones in the furnace, the police quickly close in on Bigger and take him to jail.

The final section of the book recounts Bigger's trial. His lawyer, a Jewish-American Communist named Boris Max, pleads that Bigger is not responsible for his violent actions because social forces drove him to crime, and he urges the judge to spare Bigger the death penalty. The state's prosecutor responds that Bigger is a cold-hearted, depraved criminal and must die as the law requires. The judge rules for the prosecution and sentences Bigger to death. In the final scene, Max attempts to console Bigger, but Bigger rebuffs him. "What I killed for, I am!" Bigger insists, and Max leaves him to his fate.

Discussion Topics
1. Wright writes of Bigger Thomas: "These were the rhythms of his life: indifference and violence; periods of abstract brooding and periods of intense desire; moments of silence and momentsof anger--like water ebbing and flowing from the tug of a far-away, invisible force." Does Wright intend us to relate to Bigger as a human being--or has he deliberately made him an unconscious embodiment of oppressive social and political forces? Is there anything admirable about Bigger? Does he change by the end of the book?

2. James Baldwin, an early protege of Wright's, later attacked the older writer for his self-righteousness and reliance on stereotypes, especially in the character of Bigger. In his famous essay "Everybody's Protest Novel," Baldwin compared Bigger to Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom and dismissed Native Son as "protest" fiction with a naked and simplistic political agenda. Do you agree?

3. When Bigger stands confronted with his family in jail, he thinks to himself that they ought to be glad that he was a murderer: "Had he not taken fully upon himself the crime of being black?" Talk about Bigger as a victim and sacrificial figure. If Wright wanted us to pity Bigger, why did he portray him as so brutal?

4. Bigger repeatedly says to himself that the accidental killing holds "the hidden meaning of his life": "He had murdered and had created a new life for himself. It was something that was all his own, and it was the first time in his life he had anything that others could not take from him." Discuss the disturbing concept of killing as a "supreme and meaningful act." Is this Wright's own view of the killing--or are we meant to see it only as Bigger's internal conclusion?

5. When first confronted with the accusation that he raped Mary, Bigger thinks: "rape was not what one did to women. Rape was what one felt when one's back was against a wall and one had to strike out." Discuss the group's reactions to this controversial passage. Does this redefinition of rape reveal an insensitivity on Wright's part to women and the oppressions that they experience in American society? 6. How dated does this book seem in its depiction of racial hatred and guilt? Have we as a society moved beyond the rage and hostility that Wright depicts between blacks and whites? Or are we still living in a culture that could produce a figure like Bigger Thomas?

About the Author
The first 20th century African-American writer to command both critical acclaim and broad popular success, Richard Wright was born on a plantation outside of Roxie, Mississippi in 1908. In 1937 he moved to New York to make his way as a professional writer and in 1938 he published Uncle Tom's Children, a collection of four short novels about the violent persecution of black men in the South. Harper and Brothers published Native Son two years later to immediate acclaim and phenomenal sales. Black Boy was even more successful when it appeared in 1945, selling more than 500,000 copies in its first year.

Despite his success, Wright continued to feel stifled by racial prejudice. Convinced that he could find greater freedom abroad, Wright moved to Paris in 1947 with his wife, an American woman of Polish-Jewish descent, and their young daughter. He quickly made contact with leading French existentialists and began reading deeply in the works of Sartre, Camus, and Heidegger. In the fiction he composed in France, Wright tried to view racial issues from an existentialist perspective.

When he died suddenly of a heart attack in Paris in 1960, Wright was considered a marginal figure - an expatriate novelist whose works had lost favor with a younger generation of African-American intellectuals. But the emergence of the black power movement in the 1960s sparked a major reassessment of Wright as both an innovative prose stylist and militant social critic. Today Richard Wright is widely recognized as one of the great American writers of the 20th century.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 158 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(92)

4 Star

(39)

3 Star

(15)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 158 Customer Reviews
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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 July 7, 2013

    KORI

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

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

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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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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2006

    I could not put it down.

    I thought the Native Son was a great book. It really helped me understand the way white people treated black people in that day in time. Wright does a great job explaining how white people made black people feel.

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