Next Up: Native Son
I’m eager to dive into Native Son, as I’ve heard a lot of good things about it.
Written by Richard Wright, the novel is widely regarded as the preeminent African-American work of fiction in the 20th century.
Native Son is referred to as a protest novel—one that intends to highlight the social injustice and racial inequality in America in the 1930s. The book tells the story of 20-year-old Bigger Thomas, a poor African-American in the Chicago ghetto who accidentally kills a white woman.
A few facts about the novel and Richard Wright:
- Published in 1940, Native Son was an immediate success, selling 250,000 copies in its first three weeks.
- With Native Son, Richard Wright became the first African-American author to be published by the Book of the Month club in March 1940.
- Part of the novel was based upon the story of Robert Nixon, an African-American serial killer who was executed in 1939.
- Wright has been called “the Father of Black American Literature.”
- In addition to Native Son, Wright is also well-known for Black Boy and Uncle Tom’s Children.
- The novel has no shortage of cultural references—appearing in a Lemony Snicket book (The Penultimate Peril), a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode, a U2 song, the HBO series Brave New Voices, and the 2011 hit film, The Help.
- Wright passed away in 1960, at the age 52, after a bout with dysentery.
So I’ve got to say that this novel, on the surface, appears fascinating. I’m really excited about reading it, and even more excited after I learned a little more about Wright and how highly regarded he is as an author.
Who’s read or wants to read Native Son? Thoughts?
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