The Suffering of Native Americans in Native Son (1940) by Richard Wright

Native Son (1940) by Richard Wright is by far the most captivating and practical novel I have read this semester. The novel does an exceptional job at illustrating the suffering of African Americans in the United States of America. Wright through his brilliant and graphic writing acknowledges the racial barriers that prevent the advancement of Blacks. Through his depiction of the novel’s protagonist Bigger Thomas, Wright indicates the frustration and chaos that might occur due to the isolation and defamation of people of color. He deliberately shows his readers the Black man’s struggle and the social oppression he faces in the country that claims to guarantee its citizens: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Bigger, who fights an external and internal battle, experiences the psychological and physical tensions brought about by white supremacy. The racial oppression which is prevalent throughout the text, elicits feelings of anger, fear and emptiness within the black community. Through this literary work, Wright exposes the deplorable living conditions of Blacks in the Chicagoan community by elucidating the poverty, discrimination and inequality to which they are susceptible.The novel begins with an alarm clock going off in a small and run-down apartment. The alarm clock rings, “Brrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinng!” (19), waking up Bigger and his family. Wright’s use of onomatopoeia accentuates the sound of the alarm clock and catches his readers’ undivided attention. The use of the rhetoric device places emphasis on the disturbing sound of the alarm and is intended to be a wake-up call for readers. The alarm clock is used by Wright to signal to his audience the strong presence of racism in the United States. He…

…tion than the Black man is. The Black man is more likely to get stopped by a cop than the white man is. Wright allows his readers to identify such racial discrepancies and to question the reason behind them. Although the physical enslavement of African people is a thing of the past, they are still mentally enslaved in the present. The oppression of Blacks at the hands of the white man verifies the existence of slavery. Bob Marley in his song, “Redemption Song” sings, “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our minds.” In these lyrics the legendary Bob Marley calls on his people to eliminate the psychological grasp white supremacy has on them. Marley believes that Blacks have the mental capacity to achieve liberation. Unfortunately, Bigger Thomas and many others like him are unable to attain liberation before it is too late.

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