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

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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 brutal and elemental, as in his frequently

repeated references to fire and snow and Mary's bloody
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But Wright goes

beyond merely presenting social data. At times Native Son seems more

like a nightmare than like social science. Note that Wright was also

attracted to the horror and detective stories of Edgar Allan Poe.

One of Wright's stated goals was to make readers "feel" the heat

of the Daltons' furnace and the cold of a Chicago winter. But he

also makes the cold and heat symbols of the external forces aligned

against Bigger and of the powerful emotions raging within him. Other

patterns of imagery that appear throughout the novel include beasts

(the rat, Bigger as a hunted animal, Bigger portrayed in the

newspapers as a gorilla); suffocation (the fire being choked out by

the accumulated ashes, Bigger's

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