It's been over a decade since I first read Native Son and it seemed time for a re-read. Wright's major accomplishment with this novel is that it takes the most difficult route in proving its point. Wright asks the reader to find humanity in a character who has done great wrong, uses violence to mask feeling, is filled with hate for even close friends and family and is entirely devoid of ambition--he takes the sorriest man he can find & shows us how to find the empathy that characters in the book cannot, shows us how within violent systems of oppression our lives become self-fulfilling prophecies. Wright allows the conscience of Bigger to explode with imperfections & weaknesses but gives him the character of Max to work through these things with. & so much of these things are addressed & dealt with EXCEPT for the ways all of these feelings have been taken out on the women in the novel. A lot of unnecessarily violent misogyny (especially toward the novel's primary black female character) that really mars a book that does so much in asking what kind of life one can have when they live in the shadow of violent oppression.

JCLCassandraG's rating:
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