Unraveling Native Son: Propagating Communism, Racial Hatred, Societal Change or None of the Above??

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Jacqueline Becker

Abstract

This paper explores the many different ways in which Communism is
portrayed within Richard Wright's novel Native Son. It also seeks to
illustrate that regardless of the reasoning behind the conflicted portrayal
of Communism, within the text, it does serve a vital purpose, and that
is to illustrate to the reader that there is no easy answer or solution for
the problems facing society. Bigger and his actions cannot be simply
dismissed as a product of a damaged society, nor can Communism be
seen as an all-encompassing saving grace that will fix all of societies
woes. Instead, this novel, seeks to illustrate the type of people that can
be produced in a society divided by racial class lines. It shows what can
happen when one oppressed group feels as though they have no power
over their own lives. I have attempted to illustrate that what Wright
ultimately achieved, through his novel Native Son, is to illuminate to
readers of the time that a serious problem existed within their society,
specifically in Chicago within the "Black Belt" and that the solution
lies not with one social group or political party, not through senseless
violence, but rather through changes in policy.

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