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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 69 (next | show all)
This was an impressive novel. First, it manages to capture, in the main character, a misfit who has been turned out from society, cast along the ruins of the poor and the downtrodden in an urban environment. Then, it manages to capture race dynamics between black and white people, the state and the individual, and the heart of delinquency and social status. The trial scenes were particularly powerful. I really enjoyed the grand speech, the grand finale per se, that was given in the courtroom. It was a great piece of rhetoric and writing. The analysis given by Wright after the book was also illuminating and provides some literary criticism and depth for the book.

3.75- worth it! ( )
  DanielSTJ | Jun 8, 2019 |
Native Son is a book about racism and poverty in America. The book centers around the life of Bigger Thomas, a young African-American who has grown up poor. He lives in a 1 bedroom dwelling with his mother and younger brother and sister. He gets a job as a chauffeur for a wealthy white family, but he resents them. Bigger has grown up being very aware of his dark skin and the difference between whites and blacks. Throughout the story we see how this awareness has affected all of the terrible decisions he makes. Bigger cannot even comprehend any act of kindness that is offered to him by his employers due to a life of receiving hatred from "their kind". Native Son takes transports you back to a time that America likes to forget about. It's not only a good read, but an important read for anyone wishing to understand why race is such a big issue in the USA. ( )
  saudia89 | Feb 26, 2019 |
This was a really hard book to read. So much misunderstanding. What an awful time to live through. ( )
  SoubhiKiewiet | Mar 20, 2018 |
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 |
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wright, Richardprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Diaz, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fisher, Dorothy CanfieldIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Olzon, GöstaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pellizzi, CamilloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Phillips, CarylIntroductionsecondary 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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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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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 14 descriptions

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