Native Son or Beloved Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1360 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Government

¶ … Native Son by Richard Wright [...] way in which a story is told contributes to or affects the meaning of the story. It will pick a short passage from "Native Son" and explicate it, paying keen attention to the syntax, placement, and thematic content of each line, quoting specific examples where appropriate, and attempting to explain the various meanings to the reader. Wright's use of Communism in the story reflects the time the story was written (1940), when Communism was a very real threat to the world - even greater than racism. The quote from page 66 in the novel uses figurative and descriptive language to evoke feelings of fear, distrust, and evil, which were all associated with Communism at the time, which Wright wanted to conquer with his writing.

The passage to explicate is: "He remembered seeing many cartoons of Communists in newspapers and always they had flaming torches in their hands and wore beards and were trying to commit murder or set things on fire. [...] All he could recall having heard about Communists was associated in his mind with darkness, old houses, people speaking in whispers, and trade unions on strike" (Wright 66). This comes early in the book, before Bigger's downfall, and before he understands that Communists may attempt to help him, but in the end, he is the only one who can help himself. He creates a nightmare world for himself that no one can undo, and nothing can save him.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on Native Son or Beloved Assignment

The narration in this short quote is third person omniscient, because the narrator knows Bigger's feelings and thoughts, and communicates them to the reader. The passage gives the reader almost total access to Bigger's thoughts and ideas about Communism, and they reflect the thoughts and ideas of many people at the time. Communism was dark, frightening, and fraught with violence and anger. The language of this passage vividly indicates just how frightening Communism was to the world, and gives it extreme power in the minds of the people. Even Bigger was afraid of Communism, although he did not truly understand what it was because of his limited education. He knew it was "dark, old," and spoken of in "whispers." It seems almost like sex from this passage, something dimly understood and talked about even less. Running underneath the currents of racism and poverty, Communism is a major theme in the novel because it was important at the time, and because it was a larger issue that the issues faced in America before World War II. Wright was a member of the Communist Party, and many believe this book was an attempt to spread the word about Communism so people would not fear it so much. In fact, the book was banned for a time, largely for its' positive outlook on Communism, clearly extended by Max in his courtroom arguments. Communism was frightening to most people, and they felt Communists were evil. Wright tries to show them as committed, knowledgeable people who were concerned about people as well as the political process.

The sentences in this passage are anything but short and declarative. They are long and descriptive, and the reader can almost close their eyes and see the Communists with "flaming torches in their hands and wore beards and were trying to commit murder or set things on fire" (Wright 66). Wright manipulates the language with skill and shrewdness, using words that bring up fearful images to create negative feelings about the Communist Party early on, so he can attempt to dispel them later. The sentences are lush with description and detail, and make the reader really think about their meaning and importance. The last sentence uses a series of associations in Bigger's mind that he associates with Communism. It is clear he does not understand all the implications of the Party, but this is understandable, given his lack of education and worldliness. He carries the prejudice of the times against Communists, just as whites of the time carried their own prejudice against blacks. Wright uses language to describe prejudice in common… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Native Son or Beloved.  (2004, October 11).  Retrieved October 26, 2021, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/native-son-beloved/3610036

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"Native Son or Beloved."  Essaytown.com.  October 11, 2004.  Accessed October 26, 2021.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/native-son-beloved/3610036.