Native Son Marxist Criticism

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Julian Perkowski American Literature Native Son Marxist Essay In Richard Wright’s Native Son, there is an incredibly prevalent power struggle between both the black community and the white community that rules above it. Given the story is set during the 1940’s in Chicago, Illinois, the racial and societal tensions felt between the two communities are tangible. Following the perspective of main character Bigger Thomas, Wright portrays these tensions not from the perspective of the white community, but from the perspective of a young black man trying to survive the struggles of everyday life in a vehemently racist and divided society. With Bigger at the forefront of the story, it is easy to see the ever present struggle for power between both the white community and black community through a Marxist lens. Because of the omnipresent power struggle, Wright makes it clear that Bigger Thomas’s thoughts and beliefs are not just those of his own, but also representative of the thoughts and beliefs of the black community as a whole; in the end, this power struggle reflects upon not only the two communities as separate entities, but also about 1940’s society as a whole. Through the use of Bigger’s perspective, Wright clearly conveys that Bigger’s feelings and hopes for revolution are not just exclusive to him, but are representative of the black community as a whole. As Bigger rides a streetcar away from his friends, he observes the black people as he passes by, and the narrator explains: Of late [Bigger] had liked to hear tell of men who could rule others, for in actions such as these he felt that there was a way to escape from this tight morass of fear and shame that sapped at the base of his life. He liked to hear of how Japan was conquering China; of how Hitler was running the Jews to the ground; of how Mussolini was invading Spain. He was not concerned with
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