Stereotypes In Native Son Essay

763 Words 4 Pages
Perpetuation of Stereotypes in Native Son Richard Wright sought to write the definitive ‘protest novel’ that symbolized the struggle of African American’s in pre-1940s America. He uses the main character, Bigger Thomas, to show the hardship and uneasiness felt by African Americans, and how these factors played into the preconceived notions already held by the white population. However, his attempt to magnify these stereotypes only reenforced these ideals. In comparing Wright’s protest novel to similar works during that time period, Ayana Mathis states that, “Unlike Bigger Thomas, they are robust and nuanced characters — not caricatures endlessly acting out the pathologies of race.” These traits displayed by Bigger; such as violence, untrustworthiness and fear, highlight the problem, without offering any hope of a solution.

Throughout the first part of Native Son, Bigger constantly struggles with how to
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From Bigger’s perspective, he has no reason to trust white people and within minutes of meeting Miss Dalton proclaims that he, “hated the girl then” (Wright 76) and “She spoiled everything!” (Wright 78). His feelings towards white people never let him accept the fact that they were trying to help him. A part of him wants to let them have an impact on his life, but deep down his anger always surpasses any potential for a positive outcome. However, one issue that is not properly examined throughout Part One is the trust inside his own race. James Baldwin states in his essay, Many Thousands Gone, that excluding this dynamic removes, “a necessary dimension that has been cut away; this dimension being the relationship that Negroes bear to one another.” Establishing that the only relationships that lack trust are the relationships between races, limits the possibility to examine how Bigger’s relationships with other African Americans might be sown in

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