Uncle Tom's Children Social Concerns

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Uncle Tom's Children originally contained four lengthy stories: "Big Boy Leaves Home," "Down By the Riverside," "Long Black Song," and "Fire and Cloud." "Bright and Morning Star" was added to the 1940 edition. The book is unified by the stories' shared social context, common themes, and consistent narrative technique. It is made coherent by an arrangement that leads the reader toward increasingly sophisticated examples of self-realization.

The stories are set in the rural South of Wright's childhood, and they graphically portray the systematic racial oppression suffered by southern blacks. The black characters portrayed in them are weakened by poverty, threatened with racist violence, and tested by death; yet, they reveal an inherent strength and a potential for heroic rebellion.

But Wright's concern is not merely racial, for the stories describe the perennial hard times of the rural South, exacerbated by the Great Depression.

Against this background of class animosity...

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This section contains 160 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the Uncle Tom's Children Study Guide
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