Native Son Segregation, Oppression And Hatred

1928 words - 8 pages

Native Son - Segregation, Oppression and Hatred



The novel, Native Son, portrays the struggle one black man faces while trying to live in a segregated society in the late 1930s.  Growing up poor, uneducated, and angry at the whole world, Bigger Thomas seems destined to meet a bad fate.  Bigger lives with his family in a rat-infested one-bedroom apartment on the South Side of Chicago, known as the "Black Belt."  His childhood has been filled with hostility and oppression; anger, frustration, and violence are a daily reality.  A the age of twenty, Bigger lands his first real job as a chauffeur for a rich white man, Mr. Dalton.  On his first night on the job Bigger takes Mr. Dalton's daughter, Mary Dalton, to secretly meet her boyfriend, Jan Erlone, a self-admitted Communist.  Everyone gets a little drunk, especially Mary, and after a while Bigger drops Jan off at home and takes Mary home.  As he carries Mary up the stairs and puts her into bed, Mary's blind mother walks in the room.  Bigger panics and accidentally kills Mary while trying to keep her quiet so Mrs. Dalton would not notice that he was in the room, too.  When Mary's body is discovered people initially blame Jan, but as evidence is discovered, the facts point to Bigger and he flees.  He is soon caught and put on trial for murder.  Throughout Bigger short life, he strives to find a place for himself in society, but he is unable to see through the prejudice and suppression that he encounters in those around him.  The bleak harshness of the racist, oppressive society that the author, Richard Wright, presents the reader closes Bigger out as effectively as if society had shut a door in his face.  In the first part of the novel, the narrator tells the reader, "these were the rhythms of his life: indifference and violence; periods of abstract brooding and periods of intense desire; moments of silence and moments of anger -- like water ebbing and flowing from the tug of a far-away, invisible force."  In the novel, Native Son, Richard Wright through the portrayal of Bigger's hatred and discomfort around whites, the naivety of white society, and Bigger's violent murder of a young girl shows that segregation and oppression will only foster the tension between whites and blacks and will ultimately end in violence.


During the mid-1900s, blacks were programmed to be afraid of whites.  When Bigger is around whites he hangs his head down as if ashamed and he talks only by mumbling in a soft, low tone.  No one has ever directly told Bigger to do this, yet he does it anyway.  During an interview with Mr. Dalton for a chauffer job, Bigger must sit in Mr. Dalton's office while being asked questions.  When Bigger first enters the room, he stands quietly with his head down and does not move until Mr. Dalton instructs Bigger to sit.  Bigger...

Find Another Essay On Native Son - Segregation, Oppression and Hatred

Blindness in Native Son, by Richard Wright and Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison

3154 words - 13 pages The anaphora of blindness reveals itself in the two African American novels, Native Son by Richard Wright, written before the civil rights era, and Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, written in the mid 1950’s. They are spliced in an effort to center in on the American racial discrimination and segregation through both Wright’s and Ellison’s imagery to show how white supremacists forced African Americans to live a

Analysis of Native Son character Bigger Thomas and the effects of racism on his psyche.

819 words - 3 pages The protagonist and main character of Native Son is Bigger Thomas. He is the focus of the novel and the embodiment of its main idea--the effect of racism on the mental state of its black victims. Richard Wright's exploration of Bigger's psychological corruption gives us a perspective on the effect that racism had on the black population in 1930s America. Some critics of Native Son have questioned the effectiveness of Bigger as a character. For

Comparing the Struggle for Freedom in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Native Son

816 words - 3 pages Struggle for Freedom in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Native Son Throughout history, great authors have served as sentinels for racism and prejudice in American society. The Mark Twain novel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a graphic story of 1840s America that depicts the plight of an uneducated black slave named Jim moved many to empathize with African-Americans. Compassion against the evils of slavery soon spread across the country

James Baldwin's Narration and Analysis in Notes of a Native Son

1353 words - 5 pages intertwines his own experiences growing up, into a more universal theory. Using binaries, Baldwin explains the hatred between whites and blacks and his desire for a change. His point of view on life is slightly different from the beginning of the essay to the last. However, he creatively shows these changes through narration and analysis. Works Cited Baldwin, James. “Notes of a Native Son.” 1955. James Baldwin: Collected Essays. Ed. Toni Morrison. New York, New York, Library of America, 1998. 70-84.

Short essay of Richard Wright's Native Son and his views toward Capitalism vs. Communism

600 words - 2 pages Was Richard Wright's Native Son a story about his views towards Capitalism and Communism ? Did Richard Wright want to show the good and bad points towards Capitalism and Communism ? Or was this novel just about how a young man went through life and how society made him. Richard Wright's Native Son shows that he used the Dalton's, Thomas's, and Jan Erlone to represent Capitalism and Communism .After reading Richard Wright's Native Son, many

The Style, Point of View, Form and Structure of Native Son, by Richard Wright

1169 words - 5 pages Richard Wright, in his novel, Native Son, favors short, simple, blunt sentences that help maintain the quick narrative pace of the novel, at least in the first two books. For example, consider the following passage: "He licked his lips; he was thirsty. He looked at his watch; it was ten past eight. He would go to the kitchen and get a drink of water and then drive the car out of the garage. " Wright's imagery is often

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, by William Kamkwamba and Notes of a Native Son, by James Baldwin

1270 words - 5 pages ” by the townspeople and even by members of his own family. This did not waive his determination and soon he was able to silence all the skeptics when his first windmill worked. That first little spark caused an explosion of change in Kamkwamba’s life. The young man from Malawi had made a name and a life for himself. On the opposite side of the world in 1920s Harlem, New York, James Baldwin was born. Author of “Notes of a Native Son” Baldwin gives

A Comparison of Self-realization in Black Boy, Native Son, Rite Of Passage, and The Long Dream

2516 words - 10 pages Black Boy, Native Son, Rite Of Passage, and The Long Dream:  Self-realization of a Black Man           The white world dominates the political and social life in all of Richard Wright's books as Wright portrays the never-ending struggle that a young black male faces when growing up in the United States. Wright's Black Boy, Native Son, Rite Of Passage, and The Long Dream are all bound by the common theme of self-realization. In all four

Comparison of James Baldwin's essay "Notes of a Native Son" and John Wideman's collection of Homewood stories "Our Time."

959 words - 4 pages In James Baldwin's essay "Notes of a Native Son", Baldwin's father contracted a disease and passed away. Similarly in John Wideman's collection of Homewood stories "Our Time." Wideman's brother Robby had a friend die of a terminal disease. The death of this close relation led both James Baldwin and Roby Wideman into a spiral of remorse and frustration. "The moment I saw him I knew why I had put off the visit so long....I hated him....and

James Bladwin and Notes of A Native Son

693 words - 3 pages tension profoundly shaped his views and persona of the relationship between blacks and whites.James Baldwin diagnoses American society's hatred, and teaches ways to see and think that can move readers in a positive direction. After witnessing the race riot in Harlem, Baldwin comes to the realization that "hatred, which could destroy so much, never failed to destroy the man that hated and this was an immutable law" (67). Baldwin knew that the

The True Meaning of Cry, the Beloved Country

1543 words - 6 pages segregation and white man's oppression of "inferior races" in the name of Christianity. Paton discusses the hypocrisy of a race of men who strive to make the world better and proclaim equality for all, yet cannot accept another human being as a man. In the last speech that Arthur Jarvis wrote before he was murdered by Stephen Kumalo's son, Arthur realized that white men have oppressed the blacks "for their own good" and with a perfect belief

Similar Essays

Hatred In Notes Of A Native Son

1254 words - 5 pages to illustrate the destructive nature of the black society’s hatred for white society in “Notes of a Native Son”. The hatred many African Americans possessed during the 1950s caused multiple riots. Baldwin touches on this in “Notes of a Native Son”, by mentioning the Harlem riots that broke out during the time of his father’s death. Baldwin states that “it would have been better to have left the plate glass as it had been and the goods lying

Racial Hatred In Notes Of A Native Son

1630 words - 7 pages “Notes of a Native Son”: Baldwin’s Essay on the Disease of Racial Hatred Racism is an ugly word that churns up strong emotions whenever it is mentioned. Shocking images of lynchings, church bombings and race riots creep into the mind, and cause an almost physical reaction of repulsion and disgust. History books and old television clips do a good job of telling the story of racial hatred in America, but not what it actually felt

A Comparison Between Native Son And The Blacker

2222 words - 9 pages that he wasn't supposed to be equal to whites, and because of the oppression that he experienced, he ended up fumbling when it tested the hardest.   Works Cited Baker, Houston A., Jr., ed. Twentieth Century Interpretations of Native Son. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1972. Brignano, Russell C. Richard Wright: An Introduction to the Ma and His Works. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 1970. Butler, Robert. Native Son

Bigger Thomas, Of Native Son And Tupac Shakur

6105 words - 24 pages face than give you the time of the day.� In many ways, Bigger Thomas, the protagonist in Richard Wright�s Native Son (1940), parallels Shakur in his efforts to come to terms with who he actually is, what (if anything) he stands for or believes in, all the while struggling within the preconceived notions and borders of a racist society. A victim of the same impoverished environment as Shakur, Bigger personifies violence in the form of the real