Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Native Son (Perennial Classics) Paperback – August 2, 2005
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Bigger Thomas is doomed, trapped in a downward spiral that will lead to arrest, prison, or death, driven by despair, frustration, poverty, and incomprehension. As a young black man in the Chicago of the '30s, he has no way out of the walls of poverty and racism that surround him, and after he murders a young white woman in a moment of panic, these walls begin to close in. There is no help for him--not from his hapless family; not from liberal do-gooders or from his well-meaning yet naive friend Jan; certainly not from the police, prosecutors, or judges. Bigger is debased, aggressive, dangerous, and a violent criminal. As such, he has no claim upon our compassion or sympathy. And yet...
A more compelling story than Native Son has not been written in the 20th century by an American writer. That is not to say that Richard Wright created a novel free of flaws, but that he wrote the first novel that successfully told the most painful and unvarnished truth about American social and class relations. As Irving Howe asserted in 1963, "The day Native Son appeared, American culture was changed forever. It made impossible a repetition of the old lies [and] brought out into the open, as no one ever had before, the hatred, fear and violence that have crippled and may yet destroy our culture."
Other books had focused on the experience of growing up black in America--including Wright's own highly successful Uncle Tom's Children, a collection of five stories that focused on the victimization of blacks who transgressed the code of racial segregation. But they suffered from what he saw as a kind of lyrical idealism, setting up sympathetic black characters in oppressive situations and evoking the reader's pity. In Native Son, Wright was aiming at something more. In Bigger, he created a character so damaged by racism and poverty, with dreams so perverted, and with human sensibilities so eroded, that he has no claim on the reader's compassion:
"I didn't want to kill," Bigger shouted. "But what I killed for, I am! It must've been pretty deep in me to make me kill! I must have felt it awful hard to murder.... What I killed for must've been good!" Bigger's voice was full of frenzied anguish. "It must have been good! When a man kills, it's for something... I didn't know I was really alive in this world until I felt things hard enough to kill for 'em. It's the truth..."Wright's genius was that, in preventing us from feeling pity for Bigger, he forced us to confront the hopelessness, misery, and injustice of the society that gave birth to him. --Andrew Himes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Wright's classic 1940 novel about a young African-American man who murders a white woman in 1930s Chicago is a truly remarkable literary accomplishment. Peter Francis James has never been better, bringing the character of Bigger Thomas to life in a profound and moving performance that is as touching as it is truthful. James's powerful baritone demands to be heard, captivating listeners with Wright's realistic portrayal of life in the inner city, capturing the mood of each and every scene. With moderate yet believable variations in tone and dialect for each of the characters, James ignites the collective imagination of his audience. Wright's novel is real, raw and brutally honest and James's reading follows suit. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 70%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top customer reviews
The reviews here on this site are plenty to give you an idea of its depth and excellence. My review is about the contrast between my teen reading and my adult reading.
I remember believing that the main character, Bigger Thomas, was brilliant. An ordinary young Black man had gone into the White World, committed an unspeakable crime and gotten away with it by acting like and ordinary young Black man (or so I saw it). That is to say: I thought Bigger's humble, deferential, monosyllabic speech towards White people was all an act. I thought he purposely turned on such an act to allow him to get away with things that they figured were not within his capabilities or his skill set. I thought Bigger was absolutely brilliant. A marionette pulling the strings of White America based upon their prejudices and preconceived notions.
Fast-forward 20+ years and I see Bigger through different eyes (partially because I've read the entire book and partially because my comprehension has evolved and developed). At times he was brilliant and at times he was stone cold stupid. At times he would use the shuffling negro act to his advantage and at other times he would let his ego push him too far. It was all part of the enigma that was Bigger Thomas.
Wright created a helluva character. As an African-American male I was reading about Bigger and loathing him with every fiber of my being because he was the poorest representation of Black men. I couldn't help but think, "This Bigger Thomas is confirming the wicked stuff that White people believe about us! He's a walking affirmation of their stereotypes!" But the fact is... Bigger Thomases exist. They are largely products of their environments. We may not like them, we may have the foulest names to describe them, but they still exist. So, whereas I hated Bigger for the decisions he made and the life he lived, I can't say that Richard Wright didn't give me a jolt. He threw Bigger Thomas in our faces and said, "deal with him." I'm sure every reader deals with Bigger in his/her own way. Some may hate him as I did, some may pity him, some may applaud him and much of that may divide down racial lines or socio-economic lines; in any case we as readers had to deal with Bigger Thomas.