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Review of Native Son by Richard Wright

By Nkem Egenuka on Tue, 18/10/2016 - 16:48

Native Son tells the story of Bigger, a young black man caught in a downward spiral after killing a young white woman in a brief moment of panic.                                                                                                                                                               

This powerful novel is a reflection on the violence, poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and what it means to be black in America.

Wright explores life experiences by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America. He masterful in takes readers into Bigger's mind and explaining the processes that shape his behaviour, emotional state, and decision-making process.

Bigger takes a respectable job in the house of a wealthy family, but he later becomes involved in the death of a young woman and finds himself hunted by bigoted officials who are not interested in his version of the story.

He faces his death sentence with dignity and achieves an insight into his situation that raises him, and his story.  He finally understands that his life has been wasted and  also realizes that there are many more like him, and the system will continue to produce young men who will never reach their full potential.


Biography of the Author

Richard Nathaniel Wright was born on September 4, 1908, near Natchez, Mississippi. The grandson of slaves and the son of a sharecropper. His father passed on when he was five years old and he was left with his mother.

Richard schooled in Jackson, Mississippi and he only managed to get to ninth-grade, but he was a voracious reader and showed and had a gift with words. When he was 16, he published a short story in a Southern African-American newspaper.

After leaving school, Wright worked a series of odd jobs, and he delved into American literature during his free time. To pursue his literary interests, he went as far as forging notes so that he could borrow books on a white coworker's library card, as blacks were not allowed to use the public libraries in Memphis.

Later, he found employment with the Federal Writers Project and received critical acclaim for Uncle Tom's Children, a collection of four stories. He’s well known for the 1940 bestseller Native Son and his 1945 autobiography Black Boy. He continued to write novels, including The Outsider (1953) and The Long Dream (1958), and nonfiction, such as Black Power (1954) and White Man, Listen! (1957), and was regarded by many writers as an inspiration.

Richard Wright was renown for his powerful and visceral depiction of the black experience.

Wright died of a heart attack on November 28, 1960, in Paris, France.










About the Author