Sexism In Native Son, By Richard Wright

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Richard Wright lived in the 1930 's, a time when blacks and whites were rigidly separated, and, despite the struggle, the stereotypes of black people included a life of crime and destruction. Wright tells the story of Native Son mainly to raise social awareness to the rising problem of racial differences. Despite the strength of the overlying message of racial tension, intertwined within the story is a subliminal yet unmistakable message of sexism, specifically the discrimination of women and the damaging effect this suppression has on its female victims. The physical abuse inflicted upon Mary and Bessie by the men in Native Son represents the objectification of women and power men have over women in a patriarchal society . The prosecution’s …show more content…
When Bigger violates that ownership by supposedly raping Mary, white, male society must seek revenge, as their object has been taken from them by a black man. This is shown by Buckley 's language when describing Bigger’s crimes. When Buckley says, “that poor child must have struggled to escape that maddened ape”, he is reminding the jury and the crowd of the races and genders of both Mary and Bigger. Mary is a “poor child” who “struggled to escape”. This demeans Mary into being a "child" that who could not defend herself, as she is weak. Bigger is a “maddened ape”, like he is a black animal that should not be near Mary. Because Mary is white men 's object, they do not want her to be touched by a black man. This idea is reinforced when Buckley goes on to say, “How she must have pled on bended knee, with tears in her eyes, to be spared the vile touch of his horrible person!”. Again, Mary is a weak woman with “tears in her eyes”. Bigger 's touch is described as “vile”, because in the prosecutions eyes, Bigger should not even be touching this white woman. This degradation of Mary into a weak woman shows that society is viewing her as an object as well as a stereotype. Her objectification is also shown when Buckley says, “That treacherous beast must have known that if the marks of his teeth were ever seen on the innocent white flesh of her breasts”. By using phrases like “beast” and “mark[ing] Mary’s …show more content…
While Wright 's Native Son is primarily a social commentary on racism in the 1930s, it also presents a subliminal message of sexism which are just as dangerous and troubling as the injustices in society by way of racism. The objectification and stereotyping of women is seen throughout the novel through the abuse of women by men and give light to the issue of the patriarchy. These themes that Wright presents create a world in which men dominate women and society as a whole and is reflective of America during the time in which this novel is

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