Native Son

Richard Wright's Native Son: Fiction or Truth?

Understanding the mindset and motivations of Richard Wright while writing Native Son proves to be important in understanding the effect of the novel on society. "Wright... was caught up in a hideous present moment, the Great Depression years and the Chicago black ghetto, when it was an achievement to survive, and when the Communist Party seemed to offer him an undreamed of freedom, an unqualified social acceptance" (McCarthy 100). This knowledge may clarify many aspects of this novel including the condition of the main character, Bigger Thomas. Wright's "burning sense of the degraded image of the Negro in American life drove him in every book to reproduce an image of the Negro in his most brutalized condition" (McCarthy 101). Such was the case for Bigger. Forced to share a small one-room apartment in the "Black Belt" with his mother, brother and sister, Bigger felt trapped most of his life with the knowledge that "they keep us bottled up here like wild animals" (Wright 249). The conditions Wright endured led him to write the story of Bigger Thomas while the similar conditions Bigger endured led him to murder.

Bigger is "thrown by an accidental murder into a position where he had...

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