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kelsey heller

on 10 November 2010

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Transcript of NATIVE SON

Richard Wright's Native Son The Time Period what really went on during the setting of the book Prohibition era: 1920-1933 the selling, distributing, manufacturing, and transportation of alcohol was banned William Simmons newly creates re-birth of the KKK in 1920
The Red Scare: 1919-1920 widespread fear of anarchism and political/societal agitation. Authorities saw the threat of revolution in organized labor unions
The Novel considered a protest novel an immediate best seller Sold 250,000 hardcover copies within the first three weeks of publication on March 1, 1940
Established Wright as a spokesperson for African-American issues
& Credited him the title, “Father of Black American Literature”
allowed him to become the wealthiest black writer of his time it One of the earliest successful attempts to portray racial divide in America through literature in terms of the social conditions forced upon the African Americans by the Caucasian society
Included his own Marxist assessment of the racial situation through his character Max
Wright used a 1938 criminal case in the book, involving a young black man Robert Nixon, who killed a white woman
Wright’s argument in the book is that racist America created Bigger, and if that didn’t change there would be more Biggers out there.
it Presented a grim picture of human degradation and its destructive results which were created through racism
The novel developed controversy in the sense that Bigger’s brute nature had become stereotypical for poor blacks to the rest of society (Many white Americans saw Bigger as a symbol of the entire black community)
Developed into a play, with Richard Wright playing the lead role of Bigger Thomas in the first production in 1950
how does NATIVE SON relate to RICHARD WRIGHT? Bigger Thomas relates to his childhood of incidents he witnessed with people similar to the protagonist
He experienced the same mistreatment by society
he Moved to Chicago when he was fed up of the segregation law for hopes of improvement
Wright grew up in poverty and was often beaten(understands the hardships in life)
he Became a member of the Communist Party in 1934
how was BIGGER THOMAS created? Bigger Thomas was created through five different men Wright ran into as a youth, somewhat of an autobiographical character
Bigger number 1- a boy who stole his toys as a child, who was a continuous challenge to others and desired to determine the will of others
Bigger number 2- a man who directed his contradicting nature toward the whites who ruled the south. He believed the white folks had everything while blacks had nothing
Bigger number 3- He determined fate by forceful action and would step all over others
Bigger number 4- a man of a rebellious spirit who floated between intense happiness and depression but who also believed that white folks left no room for opportunity
Bigger number 5- a man who always rode the Jim Crow streetcars and would avidly protest against the segregation through threats and violent action. He wouldn’t let anyone determine his rights
All potential Biggers were combined to demonstrate all sides of the racism and discrimination within society.
Literary techniques used in the book Tone: immersion. Wright is dedicated to bringing the reader into Bigger’s mind and into his feelings, expressed in the limited third-person voice of Bigger Thomas
Wright expresses, “I wanted the reader to feel that Bigger’s story was happening now, like a play upon the stage or a movie unfolding upon the screen.”
Motifs: Bigger’s fear, communism, limited ability of blacks, unlimited capability of Bigger Thomas
Themes: Some run in fear from established security because of persecution, Fear can consume your intentions, The dominance of the white race severely restricts black potential, Racism affects both the persecutor and the persecuted
Style: optimistic and menacing with short, balanced sentences
Diction: informal, with varying structure of dialect
Ex: the preacher talks : “Yuh said mercy wuz awways Yo’s ‘n’ ef we ast fer it on bended knee Yuh’d po’ it out inter our hearts Lawd!” (283) vs. Max, “You are criminally appealing to mob emotion..” (330)
why the odd division of the chapters? There are no individual chapters for the purpose of stressing the need to group together distinct sequences that occur in each section; any occurances which happen under each section are categorized as something either fearful, journey-like, or fortune.
Fear-consists of Bigger and his friends creating the idea to rob a white man’s store, Bigger lands the chauffer job, takes mary and jan throughout the city, suffocates Mary
Flight- Bigger’s attempt to cover-up evidence, concocts the kidnapping note and ransom plan, plays along innocently, interrogated by Britten,detectives, and media, runs and hides with Bessie, and murders Bessie
Fate- runs throughout city, captured, taken to jail, trialed, realizes himself and his feelings, and finally sentenced to execution
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Chicago, IL 60653 http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=4605+S+Drexel+Blvd+Chicago,+IL+60653&sll=33.708575,-84.69623&sspn=0.695717,1.448822&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=4605+S+Drexel+Blvd,+Chicago,+Cook,+Illinois+60653&ll=41.810736,-87.603942&spn=0,0.00283&z=19&layer=c&cbll=41.810774,-87.604378&panoid=u464xKhWQ4GWahj0lNgV6A&cbp=12,97.57,,0,7.56 themed quotes "In a fundamental sense, an imaginative novel represents the merging of two extremes; it is an intensely intimate expression on the part of a conciousness couched in terms of the most objective and commonly known events. It is at once something private and public by its very nature and texture. Confounding the author who is trying to lay his cards on the table is the dogging knowledge that his imagination is a kind of community medium of exchange: what he has read, felt, thought, seen and remembered is translated into extensions as impersonal as a worn dollar bill" (WRIGHT) FEAR: "The moment a situation became so that it excited something in him, he rebelled. That was the way he lived; he passed his days trying to defeat or gratify powerful impulses in a world he feared" (44). RACISM: "Though he had killed by accident, not once did he feel the need to tell himself , that it had been an accident. He was black and he had been alone in a room where a white girl had been killed: therefore he had killed her. That was what everyone would say, anyhow, no matter what he said"(102). PASSAGES "Again the men turned to Bigger... or that of Jan's friends" (99). "Bigger wanted to comfort them... the destiny of him and his family in their hands" (276). "Finally, things quieted... a gaurd loomed over him" (319). “I am not saying that I heard any talk of revolution in the South when I was a kid there. But I did hear the lispings, the whispers, the mutter which some day, under one stimulus or another, will surely grow into open revolt unless the conditions which produce Bigger Thomases are changed” (WRIGHT 444).
FROM THE AUTHOR HIMSELF... OPPRESSION: “because blacks were so close to the very civilization which sought to keep them out, because the very tissue of their consciousness received its tone and timbre from the strivings of that dominant civilization, oppression spawned among them, reaching from outright blind rebellion to a sweet, other-worldly submissivenss” -438 OPPRESSION: “not only had he lived where they told him to live, not only had he done what they had told him to do, not only had he done these things until he had killed to be quit of them; but even after obeying, after killing, they still ruled him” (332). NATIVE SON definitions Nigger: a victim of prejudice similar to that suffered by blacks; a person who is economically, politically, or socially disenfranchised Communism: a theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state Racism: a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others White: morally pure; innocent Black: without any moral quality or goodness; evil; wicked: His black heart has concocted yet another black deed Debutantes: a young woman making a debut into society Radical: a person who advocates fundamental political, economic, and social reforms by direct and often uncompromising methods Union: a number of persons, states, etc., joined or associated together for some common purpose Capitalism: an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, esp. as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth Decapitate: to cut off the head of; behead COMMUNISM: “’And when that days comes, things’ll be different. There’ll be no white and no black; there’ll be no rich and no poor’” (68). Racism: “The man [Mr. Dalton] was staring at him [Bigger] with an amused smile that made him conscious of every square inch of skin on his black body” (46). RACISM AND FEAR: “…it would be a trespassing into territory where the full wrath of an alien white world would be turned loose upon then; in short, it would be a symbolic challenge of the white world’s rule over them; a challenge which they yearned to make, but were afraid to” (14). <div style="background:#000000;width:440px;height:272px"><embed flashVars="playerVars=showStats=yes|autoPlay=no|videoTitle=NATIVE SON: Movie Trailer" src="http://www.metacafe.com/fplayer/4213341/native_son_movie_trailer.swf" width="440" height="272" wmode="transparent" allowFullScreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" name="Metacafe_4213341" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"></embed></div><div style="font-size:12px;"><a href="http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4213341/native_son_movie_trailer/">NATIVE SON: Movie Trailer</a>. Watch more top selected videos about: <a href="http://www.metacafe.com/topics/Elizabeth_McGovern/" title="Elizabeth_McGovern">Elizabeth McGovern</a>, <a href="http://www.metacafe.com/topics/Matt_Dillon/" title="Matt_Dillon">Matt Dillon</a></div> POTENTIAL THEMES Racism has lethal effects
Having a dominant force can have negative effects for not only the oppressed but the oppressor
Running from fears is more harmful than helpful
our environment has a substantial affect on social and moral development
Power is intimately connected to race
Criminality is created through growth in environment
Religion does not always provide assuring comfort
True identity is often discovered in crisis situations
Communist ideology did not reach its desired audience
Madness can replace emphasis
The struggle for duality in social circumstances and what is expected for BLACK AMERICANS in the 1930s was never appreciated by the caucaisian race
Frustration and hoplessness consume a person when they lose the ability to think positively
Bigger's actions stem from true oppression
Segregation makes oppressors ignorant to realities and consequences of oppression

POTENTIAL THEMES Racism has lethal effects
Having a dominant force can have negative effects for not only the oppressed but the oppressor
Running from fears is more harmful than helpful
our environment has a substantial affect on social and moral development
Power is intimately connected to race
Criminality is created through growth in environment
Religion does not always provide assuring comfort
True identity is often discovered in crisis situations
Communist ideology did not reach its desired audience
Madness can replace emphasis
The struggle for duality in social circumstances and what is expected for BLACK AMERICANS in the 1930s was never appreciated by the caucaisian race
Frustration and hoplessness consume a person when they lose the ability to think positively
Bigger's actions stem from true oppression
Segregation makes oppressors ignorant to realities and consequences of oppression
Themes VOCAB PASSAGES Interesting Facts
was created Time Period Relation to RICHARD WRIGHT “Color hate defined the place of black life as below that of white life..." (Wright, BLACK BOY)

ACCEPTANCE: “I don’t know. Maybe this sounds crazy. Maybe they going to burn me in the electric chair for feeling this way. But I ain’t worried none about them women I killed. For a little while I was free. I was doing something. It was wrong, but I was feeling all right. Maybe God’ll get me for it. If He do, all right. But I ain’t worried. I killed ‘em ‘cause I was scared and mad. But I been scared and mad all my life and after I killed that first woman, I wasn’t scared no more for a little while” (354). OPPRESSION AND RACISM: “Mr. Max, a guy gets tired of being told what he can do and can’t do. You get a little job here and a little job there. You shine shoes, sweep streets; anything.... You don’t make enough to live on. You don’t know when you going to get fired. Pretty soon you get so you can’t hope for nothing. You just keep moving all the time, doing what other folks say. You ain’t a man no more. You just work day in and day out so the world can roll on and other people can live. You know, Mr. Max, I always think of white folks……Well, they own everything. They choke you off the face of the earth. They like God….’ He swallowed, closed his eyes and sighed. ‘They don’t even let you feel what you want to feel. They after you so hot and hard you can only feel what they doing to you. They kill you before you die’” (352). QUOTES PICTURES LITERARY DEVICES “The man pronounced Bigger’s name over and over again and Bigger felt that he was caught up in a vast but delicate machine whose wheels would whir no matter what was pitted against them” (370). This shows that there is no escape for Bigger because of his skin color. There is no amount of evidence that can set Bigger free because he is black, and therefore guilty. “It was not to save his life that he had come out; he did not care what they did to him. They could place him in the electric chair right now, for all he cared. It was to save his pride that he had come. He did not want them to make sport of him” (278). Bigger feels that they are trying to make an example of him. He does not fear death but doesn’t want to be made an example of all black men. “Whenever I picked up a newspaper, I’d no longer feel that I was reading of the doings of whites alone.., but of a complex struggle for life going on in my country, a struggle in which I was involved” "Again the men turned to Bigger... or that of Jan's friends" (99).

"Bigger wanted to comfort them... the destiny of him and his family in their hands" (275). "Finally, things quieted... a gaurd loomed over him" (319).
This passage emphasizes the expectation that any black man involved with a crime, necessarily committed it. Bigger wants to keep the attention on Jan instead of himself so he will not be considered in the investigation. He also acknowledges that he is seen as an inferior to the white characters in the book and they do not consider him relevant because "He was just another black ignorant Negro to them." Bigger searches for something comforting to say to his family, but the only things that arise in him are hate and shame. Throughout the novel, Bigger's character has not shown capacity to muster thoughts and feelings without being angry, confused, or ashamed. This passage is significant because it represents the beginning of Bigger's change from a purely reactive animal to actual human being. Bigger says: "Aw Ma, don't you-all worry none, I'll be out of this in no time." This passage is one of the last descriptions of Bigger's feelings in the novel, it serves to humanize him completely by referencing his desire for someone close to him. This desire is uncharacteristic of Bigger earlier in the novel in which he had no real human emotion, he only knew anger and fear. Richard Wright humanizes Bigger more as his demise impends. This is done to exemplify Wright's purpose of the reader having pity on igger instead of hating him. Native Son Annotated Master Bibliography
1. Bloom, Richard. Bloom’s Notes. Pittsburg, PN. Chelsea House, 1996.
Carson used this reference material to find out what other authors thought of Richard Wright’s work.

2.Books and Writers. “Richard Nathaniel Wright”. Web. 7 November, 2011.
Website was filled with information. It not only gave Kelsey information of Wrights' childhood but also how it influenced him in the creation of the novel. The source states that he used the book to voice his own opinions concerning the communist party. In addition, Bigger's trial is actually based off a real court case in 1938 involving Robert Nixon who killed a white woman.

3.Butler, Robert J. "Conversations with Richard Wright | African American Review | Find Articles at BNET." Find Articles at BNET | News Articles, Magazine Back Issues & Reference Articles on All Topics. Spring 1995. Web. 09 Nov. 2010.
This is a compilation of interviews with the author, Richard Wright. Ryan thought gave a lot of background information into his thoughts.

4.Butler, Robert James. “Robert James Butler on Bigger Thomas and Mary.” Bloom’s Modern Critical Interpretations: Richard Wright’s Native Son. Ed. Herald Bloom. Pennsylvania: Chelsea House, 1996. 58-61.

Ryan thought this was a good source by Herald Bloom about Bigger’s relationship with both Mary and Bessie.

5."Contemporary Abstract Paintings on Paper." Donna's Art Studio. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Nov 2010.
Caitlin used this website as inspiration for her abstract art that she chose to do.

6.Drake, St. Clair, and Horace R. Cayton. Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City. 1945; rev. ed. 1993.
Keegan used this website to better understand the setting of the novel. This website discussed the lives of African Americans living in Chicago during the 1930’s.

7.Felgar, Robert. Richard Wright. New York, NY. G.K. Hall & Co., 1980.
Carson used this source to analyze Richard Wright’s views on race and communism.

8.Fiveland, W.A. “Furnace”. Wikipedia. N.p. July 2007. Web. 15 Oct. 2010.
Before constructing a fake furnace, Keegan researched what a furnace of the time might have looked like. Although this was a Wikipedia article, it was good enough for what was needed.

.Google Maps. Web. 7 November, 2010.
Google Maps helped Kelsey collect data for demonstrating where Bigger's drive took place. It was very helpful and interesting because places mentioned in the novel are actual places which still exist.

0."Great Depression." Wikipedia. N.p., 04 Nov 2010. Web. 9 Nov 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Depression>.
Caitlin used this site to read about the Great Depression which was a huge downfall for the United States in the 1930’s.

1.Guttman, Sondra. "What Bigger killed for: rereading violence against women in 'Native Son.'(novel by Richard Wright)(Critical Essay)." Texas Studies in Literature and Language 43.2 (2001): 169+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 25 Oct. 2010.

Ryan found that this was a source about Bigger’s fears and his motives for the murders of Mary and Bessie.

12.Hotel Guides. Web. 7 November, 2010.
Kelsey used this website and it was helpful in finding factual information pertaining to areas/cities limits of Chicago where scenes in the book take place.

3.Kent, George E., Modern Critical Views: Richard Wright. New York, NY. Chelsea House, 1987.
Carson used this source to find out about Bigger’s character and Richard Wright’s Childhood.

4.Mr. Boris Max in Native Son." Shmoop: Study Guides & Teacher Resources. Web. 09 Nov. 2010.
This is a great internet source about Boris Max which was very helpful for creating Ryan’s character.

15."NovelGuide: Native Son: Theme Analysis." Novelguide: Free Study Guides, Free Book Summaries, Free Book Notes, & More. Web. 09 Nov. 2010.
Tis source gives great information in regards to the themes of the novel, Ryan found this useful.

6.“Prisons: History – Modern Prisons”. Law Library: American Law and Legal Information. N.p. Oct. 2008. Web. 15 Oct. 2010.
Before designing the jail section of the museum, Keegan researched the conditions of jails in the 1930’s. This website was extremely helpful because it specifically discussed the imprisonment of African Americans during the 1930’s.

7.Rayson, Ann. “Richard Wright’s Life.” Modern American Poetry. N.p. 18 March, 2001. Web. 8 November, 2010.
This website gave Kelsey the info which states that black americans were actually upset over the book because they thought it would give white americans the sense that all poor blacks were or had the potential to be Bigger Thomas.

8.Redden, Dorothy S. “Richard Wright and Native Son: Not Guilty.” Black American Literature 10.4 (2007): 10-4. Literature Resource Center. Web. 21 Oct. 2010.
This internet critical essay proved to help Carson when analyzing theme and purpose of the novel.

9."Richard Wright Quotes." Think Exist. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Nov 2010. <http://thinkexist.com/quotes/richard_wright/>.
Caitlin used this to search through different quotes from the author, Richard Wright.

0.Skeeter, Sharyn. “Richard Wright’s Classic Novel.” Suite 101. N.p. 15 May, 2007. Web. 8 November, 2010.
This website was fully of useful information discussing Wright's view upon his novel. Kelsey used this quote in the powerpoint to make known of Wrights' intentions.

1.St. John, Sue. “How Did They Do That?”. A Walk Into Abstract. August 2010. Web. 06 Oct. 2010.
Keegan used this artist’s website for techniques and ideas for her own abstract painting. She ended up using one of the techniques mentioned as a basis of her painting.

22."The 1930's A Time of Depression." A Century In Review. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Nov 2010. <http://www.kyrene.org/schools/brisas/sunda/decade/1930
Caitlin used this website to learn some of the culture from the 1930’s because that is the time period Native Son took place in.

3.The New York Times. Web. 7 November, 2010.
This source helped Kelsey find more information on Richard Wright and his success of NATIVE SON. It had many useful passages which Kelsey used in the powerpoint.

24"The Wizard of Oz." Wikipedia. N.p., 06 Nov 2010. Web. 9 Nov 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wizard_of_Oz_(1939_film)>.
Caitlin used this to decide what movie she should play for the movie theater portion of the project.

25.Tremaine, Louis. "The Dissociated Sensibility of Bigger Thomas in Wright's Native Son." Studies in American Fiction 14.1 (Spring 1986): 63-76. Rpt. in Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism. Ed. Thomas J. Schoenberg and Lawrence J. Trudeau. Vol. 180. Detroit: Gale, 2007. Literature Resource Center. Web. 25 Oct. 2010.
Ryan found yet another source about Bigger’s fear. It is focused mostly on his fear of whites more than anything else and was very helpful.

26.Weston Thomas, Pauline. "1930's Fashion History." Fashion Era. N.p., 2010. Web. 9 Nov 2010. <http://www.fashionera.com/stylish_thirties.htm>.
Caitlin used this website to browse the fashion of the 1930’s.

27.Wikipedia. Web. 7 November, 2010
Wikipedia was helpful. It provided Kelsey all the information she need over the actual book's success, not just about the plot or the author. It also gave her all the unknown facts of the publishing process of the book.

28.Wright, Richard. Native Son. NewYork, NY: Harper & Row, 1940.
Carson used the resource to quote the author.

BIBLIOGRAPHY POINT OF VIEW: told in third person TONE: immersion- Wright wants the audience to be througholy connected with
Bigger's thoughts and emotions. FORESHADOWING: Bigger's many instances of visualizing violent actions that he does Sympathetic on Bigger's behalf and Unjust on the caucasian side STYLE: heavy in dialouge SYMBOLISM: blindness of mrs. dalton and the white race to oppression USE of HISTORICAL CONTEXT: racism and red scare, or "REDS" DICTION: "y'uh said yu wuz g'na change. oh Lawd" (237). (the preacher) v. " he has summoned an ability worthy of appeal" (331). (MAX)
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