Native Son by Richard Wright


I read this with three other gals on Voxer for Black History Month. I am keen on buddy reading more this year as it was great hearing everyone’s thoughts on the book!

The book follows the downward spiral of a young, 20-year-old black man named Bigger Thomas, who commits a horrific crime in 1930s Chicago. And by horrific, I mean murder. And by murder, I mean of a white woman. Of course, this is all laid out on the table on the back of the book, but I debated whether or not I should have let you uncover the crime on your own. Even though the synopsis told me straight on what was going to happen, I was still very surprised at the chain of events in which the crime took place.

Bigger is incredibly hot-headed. You can’t hardly anticipate his next move because everything makes him see red. Bigger is not a character that you would typically root for, and I think that was Wright’s intention. He’s devoid of any real emotion and completely shuts down when faced with interaction. Yet his calm, meticulous manner of haphazardly planning his next moves make you question if he is as naive as he leads the reader to think. I was torn throughout the story: I did not like Bigger, but I feared his capture. He lived in a time when blacks were thought to be the lowest of the low, so imagine being caught in a crime against a white person. Although I grew sympathetic for his unfortunate position, time and time again Bigger would rear his ugly head and make me lose all hope for him.

I didn’t necessarily like reading the book due to the content within, but I can guarantee you that it is an IMPORTANT book.



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