Richard Wright’s Native Son

This paper analyzes the social and philosophical themes in Wright’s Native Son, a controversial work on the black experience in a white world.

The purpose of this research is to examine the literary qualities and the social and philosophical content of Richard Wright’s Native Son. Published in 1940, almost two decades before the civil rights movement, Richard Wright’s Native Son was a literary and social bombshell. It was widely reviewed and discussed and catapulted its author into fame, making him a source of controversy for years to come. Wright’s account of a shiftless, apparently apathetic slum boy who harbored an obsessive hatred of whites came as a shocking revelation even to the most liberal of white readers. Even more startling was the implication that the brutal murders committed by Bigger, the central character, in celebration of his hatred are the logical outcome of his degraded racial position in American society. In addition, woven throughout the story are the obsessive hatred of