The Color Red in Native Son by Richard Wright

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The Color Red in Native Son
Introduction
* In Native Son, Richard Wright uses the motif of the color red to represent violence, anger, fear, desire, and Communism, thus conveying Bigger’s fear and hatred of whites. * “He watched her through the rear mirror as he drove; she was kind of pretty, but very little. She looked like a doll in a show window: black eyes, white face, red lips.” (62) The red in this passage represents Bigger’s desire and how captivating it is. The last sentence is an example of asyndeton. The lack of the "and" conjunction gives the impression that this “list” is perhaps incomplete. How it Connects to Eyes

* “his eyes red with anger and fear” (26,40,103)
This phrase is repeated three times in the novel and it represents and foreshadows Bigger’s upcoming acts of violence. * “Britten followed Bigger till Bigger’s head struck the wall. Bigger looked squarely into his eyes. Britten, with a movement so fast that Bigger did not see it, grabbed him in the collar and rammed his head hard against the wall. He saw a flash of red.” (161) Notice the strong diction used in this passage. This passage is a perfect example of how red can mean different things throughout the novel. Here, the “flash of red” can represent four things: the hatred Bigger has for Britten or vice versa. It could also mean the anger and frustration Britten has at this point. It could also represent the fact that Britten is accusing Bigger of being a Communist. Or it could represent the memory Bigger has of burning Mary’s body. * “Bigger saw that the man’s eyes were blood-red; the corners of his lips were white with foam.” (342) The red eyes here represent how this man views the world with hatred. Furnace/fire

* Repetition of “red bed of embers”
This repetition emphasizes Bigger’s fear of the crime he had committed. * Constant use of the word “red” to describe the fire “Red bed of fire”/ red bed of coals”/ “a shell of red hotness”/ “red trembling heat”/...
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