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Native Son

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Angela McReynolds

on 11 September 2014

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Transcript of Native Son

The bar is not represented as a community, but a place of violence and criminal activity.
Bigger Thomas is not an educated man, and is prone to violence.
Native Son: Fear
Historical Context
Published in March 1940.
Immediately became a selection for the Book-of-the-Month club, making Wright the first African American to make the bestseller list.
However, this edition was censored and cut to exclude strong sexual content and explicit language and violence.
It wasn't until 1991 his uncensored and original version was published.
Discussion Question #3
Bigger Thomas
Views on family
Gang mentality
His anger issues
Inner turmoil
His rage
Discussion Question #2
How does Bigger justify his rage, not just against white people, but against everyone and everything? Examples?
As discussed in
Blueprint for Negro Writing
, Wright believed his work stood apart from those of the Harlem Renaissance. In what way does
Native Son
support or contradict that?
Bigger vs. Reality

P.10 It is clear Bigger doesn't like to feel, it is easier for him.
Bigger hates anything white
P. 21 white's live within his stomach, leave him feeling unsettled
p.25 "He felt a hot hate and fear..."
The Daltons...white walls,
white cat etc.
With Bigger's representation of fear being a weakness and something he resents, what does Mary Dalton represent to him? She is white and he desperately wants to hate her, however, what prevents him from doing so? How is she different?
By 1960, 75% of Blacks in America lived in northern cities.
This caused an infusion of people in northern cities and produced the ghettos described in
Native Son
Discussion Question #1
Do you think that today's uncensored version of
Native Son
makes a bigger impact on the reader than the 1940's version with censorship?
What kind of impact do you think Wright was trying to make with the violence in the story?
Literary Analysis: Fear and Hate
White Hate
Discussion Question #4
Life's Railway to Heaven
Richard Wright as Bigger Thomas
1950 Movie Adaption
What Makes it Different
I'm Hearing Hughes
Simple in Hughes'
Simply Heavenly
is supposed to represent the everyday man. Although Bigger is not this, he does represent the hatred and possible impulses youth at the time experienced.
Full transcript