Richard Wright, Native Son, New York: Harper and Brothers, 1940

  1. Christopher MacGowan

Published Online: 24 FEB 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781444393675.ch49

The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook

The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook

How to Cite

MacGowan, C. (2011) Richard Wright, Native Son, New York: Harper and Brothers, 1940, in The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444393675.ch49

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 24 FEB 2012
  2. Published Print: 21 JAN 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405160230

Online ISBN: 9781444393675

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Keywords:

  • Richard Wright, Native Son (1940);
  • Richard Wright's Native Son - the first book by an African American, to be picked up by the Book of the Month Club;
  • Wright, publishing a book of stories, Uncle Tom's Children - dealing with suffering inflicted by racism;
  • Bigger, seeking control over his actions and possibilities - within a white-dominated culture organized around limiting that control;
  • white-controlled media, market economy, and political system - economic inequalities, racial divisions, grief brought upon families, black and white, affected by the murders;
  • Wright, and a talk given at Columbia University - shortly after the novel was published, “How ‘Bigger’ Was Born”;
  • Bigger's sense of his fate, inarticulate and impotent anger - he feels at being excluded by virtue of his color from the world of plenty open to whites;
  • The Daltons' well-intentioned but naïve charity - bringing Bigger into margins of their privileged world;
  • Wright's narrative problem, as he recognized - a character driven by emotion, showing as reacting to forces in his or her environment;
  • novel's enormous success, Orson Welles - staging a version of the novel on Broadway in 1941

Summary

This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Bibliography