g attorney, and Boris Max, Biggers lawyer. Bigger is highly intimidated by Buckeley, who only sees him as a sub-human being and is only out to get him. Max, Biggers lawyer, has little contact with him during the trial and fails in his defense for Bigger. At the of the story, Bigger stands alone and must accept the life he has made for himself.
Also, before his death Bigger says, “What I killed for mustve been good!” and “I didnt want to kill . . .But what I killed for I am!” Native Son is a landmark novel that created important new directions in literature. Native Son was the first novel written by a black American writer achieve widespread critical and popular success. Many critics hailed the novel as a penetrating indictment of racial persecution. For example, James Baldwin called Native Son, “the most powerful and celebrated statement we have yet had of what it means to be a Negro in America.
Also, Irving Howe commented: “A blow at the white man, the novel forced him to recognize himself as an oppressor. A blow at the black man, the novel forced him to recognize the cost of his submission.”(Stine 415) However, some critics faulted the book for a lack of realism, claiming that its vision of American life was overdrawn and unfair. For example, David Cohn described Native Son as ” a blinding and corrosive study in hate.” Another critic, Clifton Fadiman wrote: ” Wright is too explicit. He says many things over and over again.
His characterization of upper-class whites are paper-thin and confess unfamiliarity. I think he overdoes his melodrama from time to time. He is not a finished writer. But the two absolute necessities of the first-rate novelist passion and intelligence-are in him.” (Butler 12) Richard Wright was one of the first writers of his time to confront readers with the dehumanizing effects of racism. Most of his stories are centered around withdrawn, impoverished, black men who have been denied freedom and personal identity. Much of his fiction came from his own impoverished childhood in the South and his early adulthood in the segregated communities of Chicago.
In Wrights writing he often embraced communism, black nationalism and existentialism. At the center of all his work were the insistence on the purity of the individual imagination, but it is often tempered by his vision of black peoples collective destiny. Evelyn Gross Avery wrote: The writer most frequently credited with making the Negro “visible” is Richard Wright. . Offering historical and sociological, as well as psychological insights into the American character, Wright examines the rebel, his behavior and motivations, his background. Products of a lower-class black environment, Wrights rebels are well acquainted with hunger, disease, poverty.
They learn quickly from frightened mothers and beaten fathers not to expect much from America. Their dreams of power are undercut by the reality of Jim Crow and more subtle discrimination. Ambition is discouraged; impotency reinforced. All entrances and exits are blocked. Trapped, Wrights black man may choose to suffer his fate passively; he may reluctantly accept his status as a victim. But not for long.
Wrights victims are generally minor characters or else they evolve into sullen rebels(597). Richard Wright, is considered a naturalist writer. By naturalist we mean his writing is defined through his own experiences. Naturalistic fiction provided Wright with a means by which he could better see himself and his work. Wright considers his naturalism as just another version of American realism. Wrights attraction to naturalism comes from his instinctive recognition that his own life as an American black man was so closely reflected in naturalistic fiction.
The use of naturalism was useful to Wright in a number of ways. First, it gave him a literary style that was a useful tool for honestly probing into the world around him. Also, he was able to use his naturalistic style to objectively record his own experience without distorting it to suit conventional morality and standard literary tastes. Critics debate whether Wrights Native Son is fully naturalistic in style and vision.
Although, “Bigger is initially portrayed as a naturalistic victim caught in an environmental trap, but becomes a new kind of black hero when he develops the psychological resources necessary to understand his and master his environment.” (Bloom 65) An example of Wrights naturalism writing is showed through Biggers thoughts after he kills Bessie. He closed his eyes, longing for a sleep that would not come. During the last two days and nights he had live so fast and hard that it was an effort to keep it all real in his mind. So close had danger and death come that he could not feel that it was he who had undergone it all. And, yet, out of all, over and above all that had happened, impalpable but real, there remained to him a queer sense of power. He had done this.
He had brought all this about. In all of his life these two murders were the most meaningful things that had ever happened to him. He was living, truly and deeply, no matter what others might think, looking at him with their blind eyes. Never had he had the chance to live out the consequences of his actions; never had his will been so free as in this night and day of fear and murder and flight. He had killed twice, but in a true sense it was not the first time he had ever killed.
He had killed many times before, but only during the last two days had this impulse assumed the form of actual killing. Blind anger had come often and he had either gone behind his curtain or wall, or had quarreled and fought. And yet, whether in running away or in fighting, he had felt the need of the clean satisfaction of facing this thing in all it fullness, of fighting it out in the wind and sunlight, in front of those whose hate for him was so unfathomably deep that, after they had shunted him off into a corner of the city to rot and die, they could turn to him, as Mary had that night in the car, and say: “Id like to know how your people live.” But what was he after? What did he want? What did he love and what did he hate? He did not know. There was something he knew and something he felt; something the world gave him and something he himself had; something spread out in front of him and something spread out in back; and never in all his life, with this black skin of his, had two worlds, though and feeling, will and mind, aspiration and satisfaction, been together; never had he felt a sense of wholeness(277-278). Throughout the years Richard Wrights writings has effected and influenced many people all across the world. Richard Wright will continue to be known as the most highly acclaimed writer of his time.
Through his writings, Wright allows his readers to visualize what his life was like. Wright told the story of his life through his writing. His novel, Native Son, will remain on reading lists now and for years to come. I hope that this paper has broaden your view on Richard Wright and his novel Native Son. Bibliography Butler, Robert.
Native Son: The Emergence of a New Black Hero. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1991. Joyce, Anne Joyce. “The Tragic Hero.” Modern Critical Interpretation. ed. Harold Bloom.
New York: Chelsea House, 1988. Metzger, Linda. “Richard Wright.” Black Writers: A Selection of Sketches from Contemporary Authors. New York: Gale Research, 1989. “Richard Wright.” African American Writers. ed.
Valerie Smith. New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 1991. “Richard Wright.” Contemporary Literary Criticism. ed.
Jean C. Stine. Michigan: Gale Research Company, 1984. Walker, Margaret.
Richard Wright: Daemonic Genuis. New York: Amistad Press, Inc., 1988. Wright, Richard. Native Son. New York: Harper Collins Publisher, 1993.