Mastering the master's tongue: bigger as oppressor in Richard Wright's native son

Date
1997
Authors
Demirtürk, E. L.
Advisor
Supervisor
Co-Advisor
Co-Supervisor
Instructor
Source Title
The Mississippi Quarterly
Print ISSN
0026-637X
Electronic ISSN
Publisher
Mississippi State University
Volume
50
Issue
2
Pages
267 - 276
Language
English
Type
Article
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Series
Abstract

Part of a special issue on Richard Wright. Race is the basic element of the discourse of difference that pervades interracial relations. Wright's Native Son addresses the dire consequences of the whites' image-formation of blacks as it analyzes the role of perception in interracial relations. Stereotypical images of blacks that have been part of colonialist discourse are also part of the white stereotyping of Bigger Thomas. Bigger's violent killing of the rat in the opening scenes of the novel juxtaposes Bigger's anger with the rat's fear. Having become a murderer in order not to enact the white myth of the black rapist, Bigger is trapped by police in the closing scenes of the novel and becomes the rat whose final cry of defiance is to no avail. Unlike the rat at the beginning, however, he is able to attack both physically and mentally at the end.

Course
Other identifiers
Book Title
Keywords
Criticism and interpretation, Native Son (Wright, Richard) (Novel)
Citation
Published Version (Please cite this version)