Native Son Essay: Sympathy For The Murderer

Good Essays

Su Min Cho
Mrs. Balkun
ILS 2010
4 February 2017
Sympathy and Empathy for the Murderer The story of Native Son by Richard Wright is one of the greatest pieces of literature which functioned as a massive wake-up call for the American public. According to Irving Howe, when "[t]he day Native Son appeared, American culture was changed forever." Native Son was written at a time when blacks were stereotyped as brutal and uncivilized. Wright depicts his community’s suffering, poverty and denial of rightful recognition in his works. Wright’s Native Son not only represents history with sociopolitical factors, but also has excellent literary value. Firstly, Wright incredibly reveals how African Americans’ lives were and how 20th century America …show more content…

As the title suggests, it can be blamed on American society because he is a product of this country. In the journal article, Aimé J Ellis argues that Bigger’s murder is “understood as a kind of performance of black male identity that expresses not only an apparent sense of defeat but also an undeniable sense of insurrection and self-assertion.” Through his work, Wright shows the reality of 20th century America and makes readers ponder about who should they blame for Mary’s death and how are biased societies responsible for producing the criminal that comes out of them. He also insists that readers find a real meaning of the story, which is to critique "American society." Moreover, books with literary value that teach readers something worth knowing as its message sometimes changes who they are as a person. By using well developed characters, setting, and plot with important symbols, the author usually makes readers have deep reflections on humanity, life, and morals. For example, in Native Son, Richard Wright tries to shed light on the issue of racism and its adverse effects on people by utilizing literary devices such as the setting of Chicago, the characterization of Bigger Thomas, and the symbolism of blindness. By juxtaposing Bigger’s and Dalton’s house, both in Chicago and yet divided by the “Black Belt”, he underlines the segregation of American society. Wright also develops symbols of blindness to give an idea that both the black and white societies are

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