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Native Son & Richard Wright. “The day Native Son appeared, American culture was changed forever…it made impossible a repetition of old lies.” -Irving Howe. “Of course I had an unhappy childhood. The happy childhood is hardly worth your while.”. Wright background. Born Mississippi 1908

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native son richard wright

Native Son& Richard Wright

“The day Native Son appeared, American culture was changed forever…it made impossible a repetition of old lies.”

-Irving Howe

slide2
“Of course I had an unhappy childhood. The happy childhood is hardly

worth your while.”

wright background
Wright background
  • Born Mississippi 1908
  • Father leaves
  • Abusive mother, grandmother, whites
  • Valedictorian of Middle school
  • Drops out after 8th grade
  • Moves North

Life in Natchez, Mississippi

wright background cont d
Wright background (cont’d)
  • Dead end jobs
    • Janitor
    • Post office
  • Federal Writers project
  • Communist Party - 1933
  • Expatriate
  • Wrote Uncle Tom’s Children - Popular success
goals for native son
Goals for Native Son
  • Published in 1940
  • Book of the Month Club
  • 3 weeks sold 215,000
  • Based on a story of a real man
  • New version published 1993

“To write a book so hard

and so deep that white

America will have to

face it w/out the

consolation of tears.”

on bigger thomas
On Bigger Thomas
  • Anti-hero
  • Shows society its savagery
  • Searches for a desire to live
    • Despite a hostile environment
    • Despite white rejection of ever effort toward self realization
wright s philosophy
Wright’s Philosophy
  • All “Native Sons” victims of white caste ideology

WHITE

Black

  • Exist in HATE, SHAME and FEAR
  • Treated as less than human - escape into excess
escapes into excess
Escapes Into Excess
  • Excess of :
  • Violence
  • Sex
  • Drugs/alcohol
  • Religion
  • Black person’s condition in America traced directly to treatment by whites
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