Native Son Analysis

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  • Topic: Native Son, Richard Wright, Library of America
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Alhassan Bundu-Conteh
Native Son
Introduction to Literature
Dr. Brenda Doharris
Sept. 29th 2009

Margolies, Edward. "Revolution; Native son"
The Art of Richard Wright. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale and Edwardsville, 1969. ____________________________________________________________



In this essay, Margolies's main thesis is that Wright's novel, Native Son does have obvious flaws but its impact on today's readers is just as profound as it was in 1940. The body of the essay is an enlargement of his arguments supporting this thesis. The essay can roughly be divided into three sections: the first section examines the weaknesses of what Margolies describes as "proletarian literature". The second examines the plot consisting of three books within the novel. He then examines each of the three books and points out their significance in terms of the development of the plot. The third (final) section looks at reasons for the novel's continuing impact and influence on today's readers. Arguments.

Margolies describes Native Son as a "Proletarian literature" and argues that all the weaknesses characteristic of such literature are inherent in Native Son. The reader may not be aware of these flaws because Wright's protagonist, Bigger Thomas is decidedly the 'Anti-hero'. He is weak, cowardly and thoroughly consumed by fear. Book One of the novel is appropriately called FEAR. It traces the different kinds of fear that ravage Bigger's mind and determine his actions. Bigger is, angry, cold, devoid of warmth, love and loyalty. As his fight with Gus in the pool room demonstrates, Bigger is a fearsome but cowardly bully who enjoys freedom and humanity for the first time after committing two gruesomely revolting murders. Margolies then identifies some failings of proletarian literature. First, Native Son is patently propagandistic calling for the establishment of a new and humane socialist system where such crimes as Bigger commits could not...
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