Native Son Essay

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Timika Dollar 02/11/2012 2nd Essay The Passive Response One of the most prominent symbols of many in this novel is Wright’s use of blindness. Wright uses the symbol blindness to represent “the passive response” to discrimination. A passive response involves saying nothing in a response, keeping feelings to yourself, hiding feelings from others, and perhaps even hiding your feelings from yourself. Passive behavior is often dishonest and involves letting other people violate your personal right to be treated with respect and dignity. Bigger and other characters throughout the novel have all contributed to or have been affected by the symbol blindness. In the Native Son Wright effectively engages the literary devices of motif and symbolism. He does this to reinforce the underlying theme that the American racial divide has created a volatile atmosphere that will ultimately reach its highest point in violence. If you don’t understand the connection between the symbolic objects or gestures throughout the novel and the symbols’ deeper meanings then you will miss the form of Wright’s purpose. Blindness is a symbol amongst other symbols in Native Son represents the ignorance and arrogance of both blacks and whites. It affects how they think and distorts their reality. It also camouflages racism and discrimination. In Book III, Bigger must, all too late, finally confront his own blindness. Wright imbues his characters with blindness to bring attention to the reader, America's lack of vision regarding racism and its serious poverty in early twentieth century America. African-Americans are cramped into areas like the primary setting of the novel, South Chicago's Black Belt. Since there are simply no other areas available to rent, landlords, or slumlords, make no effort to improve the appalling conditions while they overcharge their tenants. For instance, in the

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