Introduction & Overview of Native Son

This Study Guide consists of approximately 85 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Native Son.
This section contains 190 words
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Native Son Summary & Study Guide Description

Native Son Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains For Further Study and a Free Quiz on Native Son by Richard Wright.

Richard Wright's 1940 novel, Native Son, was the first book by an African-American writer to enjoy widespread success. In fact, Wright's novel generated much popular and critical interest before it was even published. Three hours after the book hit the shelves, the first print run sold out. Soon a school of black American writers—the "Wright School"— began modeling itself after the author in the belief that candid art about the black American would lead to positive political change. Wright suddenly became the most recognized black author in America. Today, the novel is essential to an understanding of twentieth-century American literature.

Native Son introduces a figure familiar to midtwentieth- century America, the lone man backed into a corner by discrimination and misunderstanding. Frustrated by racism and the limited opportunities afforded black men in society, Bigger strikes out in a futile attempt to transgress the boundaries and limits of his position. He murders Mary Dalton, the only child of a wealthy real estate magnate, by accident. Yet the act of murder gives his life meaning, and the consequent trial and execution are incidental. Bigger Thomas remains a seminal figure in American literature.

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This section contains 190 words
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Novels for Students
Native Son from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.