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Native Son

Native Son

  

by Richard Wright

Native Son Themes

Native Son Themes

Fate and Free Will

Native Son suggests that we are only partially in control of or responsible for our own actions. In part, the environment in which we are raised creates certain knee-jerk reactions and also present...

Fear

Fear is the dominant emotion that the novel’s protagonist Bigger feels. Fear results from the lack of power to control one’s own situation. The protagonist  of Native Son is especially fea...

Race

Everything Bigger does in Native Son has a relationship to the color of his skin. Why? Because whites control the labor, legal, religious, educational, and social institutions that dictate where an...

Power

The world in Native Son is divided between those who have power (white people) and those who do not (black people). Power is intimately connected to race. However, it is also connected to wealth, a...

Shame

Next to fear, shame is the emotion that the protagonist of Native Son feels most frequently. Shame is associated with his family’s poverty, the color of his skin, his own powerlessness, and the p...

Criminality

This novel asks who is to blame for criminality—the criminal or the society that the criminal lives in? Native Son suggests that the society creates the criminal. A lawyer in the novel implies th...

Religion

Religion provides comfort for some of the characters in the book, but the protagonist comes to believe that religion contributes to the exploitation of black people by making them satisfied with th...

Family

Though Bigger has a mother and two siblings, he believes he’s alone in the world for most of Native Son. It takes him being in jail and learning that his infamy has narrowed his little sister’s...

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