Essay on Native Son By Richard Wright

1027 Words Mar 8th, 2016 5 Pages
Richard Wright’s famous character Bigger in the novel Native Son was created by compiling characteristics of several real life individuals that Wright had known during his lifetime. Wright wrote of these inspirations for Bigger in his essay How “Bigger” Was Born. As a compilation of several African Americans, Bigger serves to better characterize the black identity a whole; as well as black consciousness, the awareness of one’s identity as a black individual. By revealing Bigger’s background, Wright’s essay How “Bigger” Was Born can be used as a lens to examine and reveal Bigger’s motives for his actions. Bigger’s discrimination and disfranchisement as a black man led him to a life of crime and on the road to prison, and through Bigger’s actions as well as the examination of his background through the lens, the black consciousness is revealed in depth.

The violence in Native Son is a central theme of the novel. From the death of the rat in the beginning of the story, to the accidental manslaughter and dismemberment of Mary, all the way to the murder of Bessie, violence plays a critical role. Through acts of violence, Bigger had shaped his identity and his moral character. After the death of Mary in part one, Bigger had found a new identity. In a world where he suffered constant oppression under the hands of whites, acts of violence had hardened his character and allowed him to feel independent from the constraints that society had placed upon him. The lines “He had done…

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