Native Son

Native Son

Book - 1998
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With an introduction by Arnold Rampersad "The Library of America has insured that most of Wright's major texts are now available as he wanted them to be read." --Alfred Kazin, New York Times Book Review Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny: by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Wright's powerful novel is an unsparing reflection of the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America. "This new edition gives us a Native Son in which the key line in the key scene is restored to the great good fortune of American letters. The scene as we now have it is central both to an ongoing conversation among African-American writers and critics and to the consciousness among all American readers of what it means to live in a multi-racial society in which power splits among racial lines." --Jack Miles, Los Angeles Times
Publisher: New York : Perennial Library, 1998.
Edition: First Perennial Classics edition
ISBN: 9780060929800
Branch Call Number: WRIGHT R
Characteristics: xxii, 504 pages ; 21 cm.


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Mar 28, 2019

I read this for the first time after learning one of the artists I follow, Rashid Johnson, was doing a film adaptation (now out on HBO as of March, 2019). How had I never read this? I tried to encourage friends to read or re-read it so I could have someone to discuss t with, it would have been easier to stomach with friends, but sadly it was a solo endeavor. The line that sticks with me the most is after Bigger is put in jail and he is resisting seeing the lawyer, and he says something to the effect of "I never wanted to experience a feeling like hope ever again." What are we as a society if an individual feels so powerless that they resent the mere idea of hope? This novel remains incredibly relevant.

Mar 09, 2019

Excellent elucidation of the effect on a human being of being surrounded by the bounty of culture and denied it. How this can cause such hate and rage that the act of murder can become the means of self actualization if one is denied every other meaningful avenue.

Jun 29, 2018

"Native Son" the story of Bigger Thomas a young man who aspires to be somebody, caught in a world of ignorance, fear,and misunderstanding! Bigger is smart, talented and thinks outside the box, he won an award for a class project in which his essay was read through out the small town in which he lives, as a result he's selected to read it out loud in public, terrific right?

As things go Bigger is doing well, but instead of becoming college bound he is chosen to become a "driver" for a wealth white man and his family, because that's a good job for smart Negroes! The job is sudden and Bigger must live at the wealthy white's home, so he can be available on call at all times, so he must pack his things to move into the servants quarters of the "Big House"! Still only a teenager Bigger must learn to the rules of "white supremacy" and how to dumb it down, along with his glares at the attractive daughter of the white man, as she has no boundaries and flirts with the young black man which makes for a uncomfortable situation, because blacks are being lynched everyday in America at this time.

So our hero Bigger Thomas is lonely, away from home and living in a cell. And ultimately only a teenager who must learn his place in white America's expectation of who he should be and how he should act! The reader is given a special tour inside the mind of a young black man during the segregated era in American History and the upside expectations of white folks who assume all Negros are the same and know they are inferior, and somehow should know their place in white society just "naturally"!

The story Native Son take a turn for the worse as Bigger Thomas is invited to hang out with the attractive white girl and her progressive boyfriend who also assumes a great deal about black folks, as he speaks to Bigger about being oppressed in the white man's system of capitalism, and his lack of voting rights and unequal treatment under the law. He cool and hip and young and white and male and full of intellectual linguistics and it shows as Bigger is confused and threaten by his proximity as he constantly makes physical contact with Bigger. He smokes weed and listens to jazz music and drinks and the both of them (he and the young white girl) over indulge in their partying that night. Now it late, and Bigger is the designated driver who see them home, but this young lady is passing out drunk and needs assistance getting into the house and it's late, and now she making a sexual advance toward the young Bigger Thomas.... What? Really?.... Can you guess what is next? Bet you can't, or I think you need to read the book, because it get twisted sideways and takes turns not expected....

"Native Son" by Richard Wright is a deeply mind bending story made into a movie, on of which star's the writer Richard Wright as the lead character...

Ghettostone Publications Company has a tradition of learning about our culture and history, so of course "Native Sons" is highly recommended for book lovers of all shades, (smile)
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Jun 16, 2016

In order to fully understand this book, it may be necessary to talk it out with another person. Throughout this book I was appalled at certain parts, especially with how gruesome some of the words were. The storyline was a bit slow as well, but the main message of the book was important. Additionally there were also many symbols throughout the book that were hidden under the surface that were hard to interpret. As a result, I think talking about the book is crucial to one's full understanding. Most importantly, I found Max's speech at the end of the book chilling, and his words vital for humanity.

Sep 03, 2015

Didn't finish. Read about 2/3. Had trouble suspending disbelief -- Bigger was too smart to have made some of the criminal mistakes he made.

Aug 10, 2015

Richard Wright's portrayal of his main character is mesmerizing. It reveals the truth about our society both then and now. Even though this is a work of fiction the characters are real. They exist today! This is a must read for those who want to understand the blacks of the 1940's and the reasons why some lashed out as a result of being marginalized. Only a genius can touch one's psyche as Wright has done.

hbrown10011 Jul 24, 2015

Despite what all the hoopla and racial politics surrounding Richard Wright in general and "Native Son" in particular, this book is an absolute page-turner and I could not put it down.

Richard Wright is brilliant! "Native Son" is sensational!

Jun 28, 2014

Bigger Thomas as the central character of this novel is extremely vivid, realistic. I have seen versions of him on the news. I have met elementary school versions of him in school. I struggled reading this book due to the violence, seemingly senseless violence. Avoidable violence. The author embeds possible reasons why as the story unfolds. Although Native Son is a novel, it has much to say about society in the U.S., race relations and the value of individual life. I found the Afterward-"How Bigger Was Born" by Richard Wright and the author's Chronology to be a great supplement to the novel. In my opinion this book should not be banned, but should be reserved for a senior high school or above audience.

BrooklynFencingGirl13 Jun 14, 2012

This book was good. It was a little slow in the beginning but pulled through. There are still a few things I don't understand, like: why Bigger killed Mary Dalton in the first place. Her mother was blind, and she was drunk. In the book it states Mrs. Dalton could smell whiskey on her daughter. Why would she believe anything Mary said? Some of this book didn't make any sense.

Dec 20, 2011

This book has stayed with me and occasionally haunted my thoughts even more than those that I call, "My favorites." I doubt if any other book will impact me in my life the way this one did.


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Aug 10, 2015

Al6Hameed thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jan 10, 2015

IQIncorporated thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

BrooklynFencingGirl13 Jun 14, 2012

BrooklynFencingGirl13 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 06, 2016

Men can starve from a lack of self-realization as much as they can from a lack of bread.

BrooklynFencingGirl13 Jun 14, 2012

"There was no chance of his getting that money now. They had found Mary and would stop at nothing to get the one who killed her."


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