Native Son Blog

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In the 19th century, all civilians of African descent were treated as inferiors to citizens of white skin complexion. Segregation became a dominant influence in society, and the living conditions (comparing white communities versus black communities) were practically contrapositive to each other. Basically, on average, the black people (or other inferior races during this time period) lived in terrible isolated districts that consist of tenements, where brown-skinned families live in extremely crowded habitats, unsanitary “rat-infested” (174) living conditions, with a barely affordable price. Whites on the other hand, lived in lavish and sanitary living conditions, with plenty of territory to spare. This time period is also classified as an era where wealthy individuals took advantage of the less fortunate people. These actions included lowering wages, increasing rent, and excluding the poverty-stricken to crowded slovenly dumps. In Native Son, Wright exposes the fabricated heroisms of hypocritical philanthropists like Mr. Dalton, who donate or make amends for their own iniquitous actions. Mr. Dalton is the South Side Real Estate Company owner. As president of the company, Mr. Dalton owns many communities including the “Black Belt” (174), which was an isolated “corner of the city tumbling down from rot” (174). On one hand, Mr. Dalton appears to be a hero to the black community. Mr. Dalton (charitably) contributes to the black community by donating a few millions of dollars and Ping-Pong tables. Mr. Dalton also offers chauffer jobs and encourages education in young black men. On the surface, Mr. Dalton in suggested as an heroic figure in society; however, in reality, Mr. Dalton contributes significantly toward the social discrepancies that compels oppression and fear, which leads to violence in black individuals like Bigger. Mr. Dalton is one of the many property owners who agreed to only allow blacks to rent apartments only on the city’s South Side. These...
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