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Native Son

Native Son

  

by Richard Wright

Native Son Analysis

Literary Devices in Native Son

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

In the opening scene of the novel, Bigger must confront a rat in his family’s one-room apartment. He overcomes the rat by throwing a shoe at it and killing it. Some critics argued that the ra...

Setting

Maybe you've seen the 2002 jazz-fest filmic spectacular called Chicago. Hey! That's also set in the 1930's, in Chicago... and it involves prison. So Native Son must be a glitzy, glamorous musical w...

Narrator Point of View

The narrator tends to follow Bigger’s thoughts and actions, only revealing what’s going on in Bigger’s head. The narrator, however, seems to know more about Bigger than the character does him...

Genre

Like most great books, Native Son can’t be shelved in just one section of your local bookstore. It combines elements of multiple genres, and that’s because it’s such a unique and visionary wo...

Tone

On the one hand, Bigger is a thoroughly unlikeable character. Even though we recognize that it is not his fault that he’s poor, and we recognize that circumstances have created his tendency towar...

Writing Style

Though Native Son is peppered heavily with dialogue, it is also interspersed with long passages that illuminate Bigger’s motivation:There was silence. The car sped through the Black Belt, past ta...

What’s Up With the Title?

The title is a slam on American society. Bigger Thomas, the novel’s main character, is a "native son" of America: he was born and raised as a black man in the U.S., so he’s a product of the cou...

What’s Up With the Epigraph?

Even today is my complaint rebellious, My stroke is heavier than my groaning —JobThe epigraph is a quotation from the Book of Job. Job was a good guy—faithful to God and wildly successful. He h...

Plot Analysis

Bigger’s family lives in a dingy, rat-infested apartment and Bigger has the opportunity for a job that will give them a slightly higher standard of living.The novel starts with a scene in the Tho...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Bigger has the opportunity for a job with a wealthy white man.Bigger’s life is one where his every dream is immediately trampled down by oppression and harsh circumstances. As a black man in 19...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Bigger chickens out of committing robbery, finds a job, is embarrassed by his employer’s daughter (Mary) and her boyfriend’s attempts to treat him as an equal, and accidentally kills Mary. He s...

Trivia

After publishing Uncle Tom's Children in 1938, author Richard Wright was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1939. This fellowship helped him finish writing Native Son, which was published the fol...

Steaminess Rating

So, we really do think the sex scene in this book should be rated R, but you won’t believe us unless you have a recently published copy of the book; older versions cut out a lot of the sexually e...

Allusions

The Bible: Genesis 1 (3.71); Genesis 2 (3.74-75); "the word became flesh," from John 1:14-18 (3.99)Adolf Hitler (2.251)Benito Mussolini (2.251) Japan colonizing China (2.251) Charles D. Tillman: "L...

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