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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


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

worth your while.”


Wright background
Wright background childhood is hardly

  • 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) childhood is hardly

  • 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 childhood is hardlyNative 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 childhood is hardly

  • 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 childhood is hardly

  • 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 childhood is hardly

  • Excess of :

  • Violence

  • Sex

  • Drugs/alcohol

  • Religion

  • Black person’s condition in America traced directly to treatment by whites


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