Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Richard Wright's novel tells the unforgettable story of Bigger Thomas, a brutal murderer caught in a cycle of racism and poverty in inner-city America. Though critics often debate the effectiveness of Bigger's character, nearly all agree on the power of Wright's tale. This guide presents a comprehensive critical look at this important work, delving into both its literary significance and social impact. Excerpted from Richard Wright's Native Son by Harold Bloom All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.
The sales of Native Son made Wright the wealthiest black writer of the time, and sealed his reputation as one of the most acclaimed American writers. It also served for the American public. Author wrote that, "No American Negro exists who does not have his private Bigger Thomas living in his skull."
Richard Wright: A Collection of Critical Essays
Published in 1940, Native Son was an instant success, even as it met with some controversy. As a notes, Wright had written an insanely difficult novel—one about a black man justly accused of murder whose actions were nevertheless shaped by cultural, social, and economic forces that he couldn’t control.