The Necessity of Violence in Native Son by Richard Wright Essay

The Necessity of Violence in Native Son by Richard Wright Essay

Length: 1514 words (4.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In Native Son, Richard Wright uses characterization and symbolism to underscore his theme of how American institutionalized oppression of blacks creates human tragedy for those oppressed. Yet, the novel is not an attempt to merit our sympathy or empathy for the condition of repressed blacks, it is to illustrate how the nihilistic attitude of blacks like Bigger Thomas is the direct result of white repression of differences in non-white cultures. In other words, Bigger's only option is death because the society which has created him has given him nothing else to care about, nothing he can call his own, no chance to explore any of his potential. Thus, he turns to violence as an expression of identity which is what his reaction to reading the newspaper expresses. When he reads the article in the paper, he exclaims to his mother, "No! Jan didn't help me! He didn't have a damned thing to do with it! I - I did it!" (Wright 283). His act of violence is his only affirmation of self in a society that represses any other form of self-affirmation and he desperately clings to it.

Even the alarm clock that rings in the beginning of the novel is a symbol. It is a symbol Wright uses as a "wake up" call to a society that remains locked in illusions regarding its creation of race relations that makes Bigger always someone who is "following a strange path in a strange land" (Wright 127). This is why Bigger's communist lawyer tells the court that Bigger is incapable of killing because he is already dead as he is forced to exist in a society that refuses him any affirmation of life. Bigger is a displaced person because the society into which he is born allows him no place. He is Ellison's "invisible man" who is destined to fall be...


... middle of paper ...


... of modern American society's institutionalized oppression.



WORKS CITED



"Richard Wright." Chapman, R. (ed.) Black Voices. New York, Penguin Books, 1968: 113-114.



"Richard Wright Biography." http://www.math.buffalo.edu/~sww/wright/wright_bio.html March 20, 1999: 1-5.



"Richard Wright; Homegrown: Bigger Thomas as a Product of His Environment." http://www.loras.edu/~ENG/faculty/fretz/Page12.html March 20, 1999: 1-2.



"'Without the Consolation of Tears': Richard Wright, France, and the Ambivalence of Community." Gilroy, P. (ed.) The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness. Mass., Harvard Univ. Press, 1993: 146-186.



Wright, R. "How Bigger Was Born." Chapman, R. (ed.) Black Voices. New York, Penguin Books, 1968: 538-563.



Wright, R. Native Son. New York, HarperCollins, 1993.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about Richard Wright's Native Son

- Richard Wright's Native Son Richard Wright's novel, Native Son, stirred up a real controversy by shocking the sensibilities of both black and white America. The protagonist, Bigger Thomas, is from the lowest ring of society, and Wright does not blend him with any of the romantic elements common to literary heroes. Bigger is what one expects him to be because of the social conditions in which he lives: he is sullen, frightened, violent, hateful, and resentful. He is the product of the condemnation the “white” society has brought upon him....   [tags: Richard Wright Native Son]

Powerful Essays
816 words (2.3 pages)

Essay on Animal Symbolism in Native Son by Richard Wright

- Animal Symbolism in Native Son by Richard Wright         Two rats and a cat are used as symbols in Richard Wright's Native Son.  The rats, one found in an alley and the other in Bigger's apartment, symbolize Bigger.  Mrs. Dalton's white cat represents white society, which often takes the form of a singular character.  "Parallels are drawn between these animals and the characters they represent at key moments during the novel" (Kinnamon 118).  These parallels help the reader identify with Bigger and understand why he acts the way he does.  The animal imagery in Native Son explains some of Bigger's behavior and generates sympathy for Bigger and fear of whites....   [tags: Native Son Essays Richard Wright]

Powerful Essays
1446 words (4.1 pages)

Native Son by Richard Wright Essay

- Native Son by Richard Wright Who is the victim in a prejudiced civilization. The dominant group or the minority. "Native Son," a novel by Richard Wright, focuses on the effects of racism on the oppressors and the oppressed....   [tags: Wright Native Son]

Powerful Essays
1582 words (4.5 pages)

Essay on Native Son By Richard Wright

- Native Son by Richard Wright is a heartbreaking story of the racial oppression that spread throughout Chicago and America during the 1930s. Through the experiences of his black protagonist Bigger Thomas, Wright provides valuable insights into racial segregation and the tragic ways in which it affected American society. Throughout the novel, Wright insists that Bigger was not born an aggressive criminal. He is a product of the violence and racism. By no means does Wright minimize the oppression of blacks by whites, but he does demonstrate that much of the racial inequality was due to the lack of understanding, among both blacks and whites, of each other....   [tags: Black people, White people, Race, Racism]

Powerful Essays
1286 words (3.7 pages)

Native Son By Richard Wright Essay

- Native Son by Richard Wright is a story of racial oppression that spread throughout Chicago and America during the 1930s. Through the experiences of Bigger Thomas, Wright shows valuable insights into racial segregation and the ways in which it affected American society. Throughout the novel, Wright insists that Bigger was not born an aggressive criminal. He is a product of the violence and racism. Wright demonstrates that much of the racial inequality occurring was due to the lack of understanding, among both blacks and whites....   [tags: Black people, White people, Race, Racism]

Powerful Essays
1161 words (3.3 pages)

Native Son, Richard Wright Essay

- In the critically acclaimed novel Native Son, Richard Wright, the most influential African American writer of the 20th century, creates a literary masterpiece that perfectly reflects the everyday struggles of African Americans in the 1930’s, who barely made end’s meet in the rough and gritty streets of Chicago. In this controversial novel, Richard Wright walks the readers through the troublesome life of Bigger Thomas, the oppressed and impoverished antihero of Native Son, who shocked the nation with his profanity and violent outbursts....   [tags: African American, Racism, Psychology]

Powerful Essays
1233 words (3.5 pages)

Richard Wright's Native Son Essay

- Conditioning in Native Son by Richard Wright: Can a Man be Held Responsible for Actions Decided for Him. In 1607, the English crossed the great Atlantic Ocean, braving the unexplored terrain of the new world, in hopes to achieve economic prosperity. But to achieve this economic prosperity, it became clear that cheap, reliable labor would be a necessity in order to thrive birthing the practice of slavery in the United States. Three hundred years later, those values of being able to obtain economic success still holds fast, so Americans are still forced to rely to on the back bone that aided them in the success of the creation of America, Blacks....   [tags: coditioning, literary analysis]

Powerful Essays
2896 words (8.3 pages)

Blindness in Richard Wright's Native Son Essay

- Blindness in Richard Wright's Native Son Does it seem sometimes as if people are ignorant to other feelings. Have you ever had a friend get away with something or toy with someone's thoughts to benefit him or her. Similar types of blindness occur in the novel Native Son by Richard Wright (1940). The story starts in the Great Depression with a poor black family waking up to a foot long rat in their one room apartment. Bigger, the main character, and his younger brother Buddy narrowly kill it without bodily harm....   [tags: Native Son Essays]

Powerful Essays
854 words (2.4 pages)

Richard Wright's Native Son Essay

- Every person on earth has feelings and beliefs that must be expressed, and, of course, there is no one, perfect means of doing this that works for everyone. For some, literature provides a perfect medium to depict exactly what they wish to communicate. As an example, Richard Wright's novel, Native Son, specifically conveys his opinion of the struggle blacks had to face (personified by Bigger Thomas, the main character of the story) in the white man's world of the early 1900's. To create a novel such as this, there are many concepts that must be strung together....   [tags: Novel Analysis Wright]

Free Essays
1292 words (3.7 pages)

Richard Wright's Native Son Essay

- Richard Wright's Native Son The book Native Son by Richard Wright is about an African American man growing up in the south. The main character Bigger Thomas often finds himself in trouble throughout his life from the beginning to the end. The author uses his views and thoughts through Bigger about American society. Bigger worked for a rich man named Mr. Dalton and had “accidentally” murdered his daughter Mary. As a result of that a domino effect of misfortune began to happen. Bigger was later arrested and put on trial because of his actions I felt like I was watching a man sinking through quicksand and with every movement or attempt to free himself making the situation worst....   [tags: Essays Papers]

Free Essays
561 words (1.6 pages)