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Native Son by Richard Wright
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Native Son

by Richard Wright

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
Powerful, tense, and moving, this story of a young black man in 1950's Chicago stumbling from a life of petty crimes into one of a wanted and then convicted murderer via a series of tragically bad decisions is unbelievably stark and bleak and, above all, heart-breakingly relevant still. This is one of those books that should be required reading for everyone. Everyone. ( )
1 vote electrascaife | Dec 8, 2017 |
Provocative and entertaining, Native Son by Richard Wright, should be required reading. Wright uses words like razors, and the dialogue often reads with the urgency of a great pulp novel. In between the frightful action and terse dialogue, Bigger Thomas struggles with hazy feelings and thoughts fueled by centuries of racism and oppression and his own inability to articulate those thoughts. In the penultimate scene, his Communist defense attorney comes closer to understanding Bigger than anyone else, and correctly understands that often the actions of dehumanized people can be blunt, wrong-headed efforts to be more human, and are really caused by the rest of -- not directly, perhaps, but implicitly.
( )
  Scott_Hercher | Nov 25, 2017 |
This is a great book. 3.5/5 stars. This is what I would have liked Crime and Punishment to have been, instead of that awful cartoonish mess it turned out to be (I realize I just lost a lot of you.) This was a very real character, having to make complex decisions based on the very real situations and emotions he was feeling. Ultimately it was perhaps too straightforward to me, and lost my attention about half way through. But whatever, it is a very worthwhile read. ( )
  weberam2 | Nov 24, 2017 |
A must-read, even if not all of us agree with some of the political ideas expounded here (author Richard Wright was a Communist). This novel is thought-provoking, fast-paced but purposeful.

Bigger Thomas is a young black man who commits some murders, and this looks at how the system and culture (whites and blacks) treats him before and after . One impression I had while reading was that we still have a long way to go regarding race relations 77 years after this was published. ( )
  ValerieAndBooks | Oct 17, 2017 |
Wow. Mr. Wright wrote a bold, emotional, brave and fierce book here. Its painful; it's thought provoking; it hits the reader like a full force punch to the gut (all great books should do this by the way).

The edition I read was the uncut (unaltered) version before the publisher, with outside prompting, requested some revisions. These revisions included tone, violent depictions and graphic sex. I was not bothered, nor offended, by anything in the original, and I couldn't imagine experiencing it any other way.

No review I could ever make could do Mr. Wright or this book justice. My only attempt to do justice to Wright would be to issue a plea to others to read this book! I thank my lucky stars that I promoted it on my to-read list - On occasion, great books are lost and forgotten there. Thankfully, Bigger's story wasn't lost and forgotten for me, and it will stay with me for a long time.

I could never relate to Bigger's story, but even so, it's not impossible to understand more and feel more because of it. Mr. Wright is a great writer and he really shows it here.

My favorite part was the last part - "Fate". I thought Bigger's lawyer Max did a hell of a job. I didn't mind the lawyer's long winded speech (plea for mercy). I ate it up; I adored it. It thrilled and floored me completely. Max's plea for life was a building up to the climax for me; the height of the drama; and perhaps, Mr. Wright's message for the reader. Max gave a heroic effort, but the reader will know how it ends well before Max finishes.

Highly Recommended. ( )
  Mitchell_Bergeson_Jr | Aug 6, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wright, Richardprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Diaz, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fisher, Dorothy CanfieldIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Olzon, GöstaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rampersad, ArnoldIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reilly, JohnAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Solotaroff, TheodoreAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Oggi ancora il mio lamento è ribellione, la mia piaga è piu' grave dei miei sospiri" Libro di Giobbe, 22,3
Even today is my complaint rebellious,
My stroke is heavier than my groaning.
—Job
Dedication
A mia madre- che, quando ero bimbo alle sue ginocchia, m'insegno' l'ammirazione e il rispetto delle cose e degli uomini immaginosi e fantastici.
TO
My Mother
who, when I was a child at her knee, taught me to revere the fanciful and imaginative
First words
Brrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinng! An alarm clock clanged in the dark and silent room.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
AR 6.1, 24 Pts
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 006083756X, Paperback)

Bigger Thomas is doomed, trapped in a downward spiral that will lead to arrest, prison, or death, driven by despair, frustration, poverty, and incomprehension. As a young black man in the Chicago of the '30s, he has no way out of the walls of poverty and racism that surround him, and after he murders a young white woman in a moment of panic, these walls begin to close in. There is no help for him--not from his hapless family; not from liberal do-gooders or from his well-meaning yet naive friend Jan; certainly not from the police, prosecutors, or judges. Bigger is debased, aggressive, dangerous, and a violent criminal. As such, he has no claim upon our compassion or sympathy. And yet...

A more compelling story than Native Son has not been written in the 20th century by an American writer. That is not to say that Richard Wright created a novel free of flaws, but that he wrote the first novel that successfully told the most painful and unvarnished truth about American social and class relations. As Irving Howe asserted in 1963, "The day Native Son appeared, American culture was changed forever. It made impossible a repetition of the old lies [and] brought out into the open, as no one ever had before, the hatred, fear and violence that have crippled and may yet destroy our culture."

Other books had focused on the experience of growing up black in America--including Wright's own highly successful Uncle Tom's Children, a collection of five stories that focused on the victimization of blacks who transgressed the code of racial segregation. But they suffered from what he saw as a kind of lyrical idealism, setting up sympathetic black characters in oppressive situations and evoking the reader's pity. In Native Son, Wright was aiming at something more. In Bigger, he created a character so damaged by racism and poverty, with dreams so perverted, and with human sensibilities so eroded, that he has no claim on the reader's compassion:

"I didn't want to kill," Bigger shouted. "But what I killed for, I am! It must've been pretty deep in me to make me kill! I must have felt it awful hard to murder.... What I killed for must've been good!" Bigger's voice was full of frenzied anguish. "It must have been good! When a man kills, it's for something... I didn't know I was really alive in this world until I felt things hard enough to kill for 'em. It's the truth..."
Wright's genius was that, in preventing us from feeling pity for Bigger, he forced us to confront the hopelessness, misery, and injustice of the society that gave birth to him. --Andrew Himes

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:00 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Richard Wright's novel is just as powerful today as when it was written -- in its reflection of poverty and hopelessness, and what it means to be black in America.… (more)

» see all 12 descriptions

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