A Comparison Between Native Son And The Blacker

2222 words - 9 pages

Parallels Between Native Son and The Blacker  

     In African Literature these two names Wallace Thurman and Richard Wright have contributed some of the most famous fictional works depicting Black culture in America. Since the two authors come from the same time period they share the experience of what it is like to be apart of the black race in America and depict it in separate but common ways. Both writers created works in the first half of the twentieth century that will be marked as some of the century's most prolific novels. Coming from different periods, Thurman the Harlem Renaissance and Wright the Chicago Renaissance of the African-American Culture movement. The two authors have some differences in their works but that doesn't mean there aren't parallels that can be drawn between the two also. The two authors grew in slightly different environments, which largely affected the substance of their fiction novels. A common parallel that can be drawn is that each knows first hand how prejudices can get in the way of a person's life and block a person's thoughts. The focus here is how Wright targets racism and how Thurman targeted Intra-racism.

            Thurman was born at the turn of the century and did not live past the age of thirty-two but he still left behind him three books, one of which is The Blacker the Berry. Unlike Wright, Thurman chose several different settings in following the protagonist from home, to school, and then the city. As some African-American authors choose to write about the racial prejudices in the nation Thurman, a writer of the Harlem Renaissance, choose to use Intraracial color prejudice as the theme to write The Blacker the Berry (1929). The protagonist, Emma Lou Morgan, is a very dark girl "born into a semi-white world, totally surrounded by an all-white one, and those few dark elements that had forced their way in either way had either been shooed away or else greeted with derisive laughter." From this community, Boise, Idaho, Emma Lou goes to Los Angeles and then to Harlem, but she can escape neither the handicaps imposed by the notion that light is right nor her own resulting self-hatred. Throughout the book Thurman makes several references as to how the prejudice thoughts can affect how Emma Lou is treated but it also affects how she sees people too. Self-actualization appears at the end of the story to be what Emma has been searching for all along but, like the reader, she does not notice it until its there.

 In Richard Wright's Native Son Bigger Thomas, the protagonist, is a young man in his late teens living with his mom, sister, and brother in a one-bedroom rat infested apartment in Chicago. Throughout the book it becomes evident that Wright is using this book as a form of protest against the Status Quo which is the oppressive white society. With the creation of the character Jan, the white upper class and communist party are represented. Jan tries to explain that communism would...

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