Native Son Essay

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In the following excerpt, Hynes discusses how Bigger could have no dreams of his own, only unobtainable aspirations fed to him by white America.

Richard Wright's novel appeared in 1940, just over half a century ago. One of his greatest problems at that time was akin to that of the other more recent black writers [Ralph Ellison and James Baldwin] I have mentioned: how to address both black and white readers while remaining true to his vision and hoping to effect a moral and social change. The faith of any serious writer (or teacher) must be that the emotional-intellectual wallop that follows upon seeing will shove readers out of ignorance and complacency, a little closer to union with other human beings.

Any artist in any medium wants to communicate with some audience, of course. My point at the moment is that black writers have had special difficulty in this...

(read more from the Critical Essay #2 section)

This section contains 2,895 words
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