Sunday, December 1, 2019

Native Son By Right Essays (2504 words) - Native Son, Richard Wright

Native Son By Right Richard Wright marked the beginning of a new era in black fiction. He was one of the first American writers of his time to confront his readers with the effects of racism. Wright had a way of telling his reader about his own life through his writing. He is best known for his novel, Native Son, which is deeply rooted in his personal life and the times in which he lived. This paper will discuss this outstanding American writer, his highly acclaimed novel, Native Son, and how his life influenced his writing. Richard Nathaniel Wright, was born on September 4, 1908 in Roxie, Mississippi. His father was a sharecropper and his mother a schoolteacher. In search for better employment his father moved the family to Memphis, Tennessee. While in Memphis, his father worked as a night porter in a hotel and his mother worked as a cook for a Caucasian family. Shortly after their move to Memphis, Wright's father deserted his family. His mother then tried to find any work she could find to support her family. Then, at the age of seven his mother became ill and was unable to financially support her family. As a result, the family had to move to Jackson, Mississippi to live with relatives. Wright remained in Jackson until 1925 (Walker, 13). In 1925, Wright left Jackson and headed as far as his money could take him, and that was Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis was the exact same city in which his father had taken his family to find a better life and where he abandoned them. Wright's first trip to Memphis ended in disappointment, desertion, and deprivation. While there Wright found work as a messenger for an optical company. He lived in Memphis for approximately two years. During that time, he witnessed the deep and violent South which eventually would permanently scar him for life. Margaret Walker wrote: I am convinced that the best of Richard Wright's fiction grew out of the first nineteen years of his life. All he ever wrote of great strength and terrifying beauty must be understood in this light. His subjects and themes, his folk references and history, his characters and places come from the South of his childhood and adolescence. His morbid interest in violence-lynching, rape, and murder-goes back to the murky twilight of a southern past. Out of this racial nightmare marked with racial suffering, poverty, religious fanaticism and sexual confusion emerge the five long stories in Uncle Tom's Children. (Walker 43) The violent impression of Southern racism marked Wright's personality and literature. As a result, he would spend his entire life struggling to express the importance for men to reject the stereotypic notions of race, class, creed, or any other prejudice and to accept human value that honor the human spirit and release intelligence. It was Wright's first nineteen years in the South that opened up his most powerful and passionate writing (Walker 43). In 1927, at the age of nineteen Wright migrated to Chicago, Illinois. In Chicago, Wright found a job a as Post Office Clerk and at the same time he continued to self-educate himself by reading books, magazines, and newspapers. While in Chicago he became interested in Communism Issues. The interest came as a result of his concern with the social roots of racial oppression. In 1932, Wright joined the Communist party. He was a party activist in Chicago and New York. Wright's involvement with the Communist party became the subject of most of his fiction writings. After he broke away from the party his writings were centered around it. Wright's years in Chicago are often considered his maturation years, which were years of growing maturity and preparing for an illustrious future (Metzger 608). Wright's career as a writer basically began in the 1930's. In 1930, he wrote his first novel, Lawd Today. His novel, Lawd Today, however was not published until after his death. His first published work was, Uncle Tom's Children: Five Long Stories, which consists of stories that attack the racial discrimination and bigotry that Wright encountered as a youth. Throughout Wright's career he published many outstanding works. Among his works included: five novels, two autobiographies, two books of short stories, four nonfiction books and one collection of essays. Wright's major influence began when he published, Native Son , in 1940. Richard Wright's most notable and highly acclaimed novel is Native Son. Richard Wright contemplated for a while before he decided to write a novel in which a Negro, Bigger Thomas, would become a symbolic figure

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