Sdsdsdd Essay Research Paper Throughout history many

Sdsdsdd Essay, Research Paper

Throughout history, many talented authors writings have reflected the

time period in which they lived in. Often the overall tone, and attitude

of the novel is due to factors, that they have been born with, such as the

environment they grew up in, who raised them, or moral ethics were

instilled into their way of thinking.

Richard Wright is an African-American author whose writings greatly

reflected the time period in which he lived in. Native Son and Black Boy

are two classic examples of Wright’s works that are profoundly influenced

by the era in which he lived.

Wright was born on September 4, 1908, in Natchez, Mississippi on a

small farm much in the same manner that his hero, Bigger Thomas, began his

life. Deprived, poor, and segregated against, Wright spent much of his

early childhood in pain, fear, and shame. He was repeatedly beaten by his

mother and grandmother for trying to fight back at the segregation imposed

upon him. He was also beaten by whites to whom he had to turn for jobs and

he was resentful of the Jim Crow rules by which he had to live. In Black

Boy, Wright’s autobiography, he recalls a familiar childhood event: “I

would feel hunger nudging my ribs, twisting my empty guts until they ached.

I would grow dizzy and my vision would dim.”

In Black Boy, Wright used his own life to exemplify what qualities of

imagination and intellect are necessary of a southern African-American in

order to understand the meaning of his life in the United States. Black

Boy also reveals it’s ‘author hero’ as a man controlled by an absolute

certainty of his own virtues.

The ethics of living Jim Crow require that Wright be obedient and

silent. So although he was not a slave, he in essence was. He shared the

same emotions as the slaves and emphasized for them. Yet everything we

know about his character has prepared us to expect rebellion.

Wright could not, from his earliest years, tolerate this repression,

and Black Boy is the chronicle of his segregation, not only from the white

society but from with his own society.

While Black Boy represents a picture of a personality corrupted by a

brutal environment, it also presents natural human responses to its world

by a sensitive child.

The very fact that Black Boy is an autobiography of Wright’s life is in

itself exemplifying how his life was reflected in his works. Wright’s life,

especially his childhood apparently had a great impact on him, otherwise he

would not have written a book about.

Native Son, the novel that Wright is most noted for is also greatly

reflected by the time in which he lived.

Bigger Thomas, the hero and the protagonist of the novel, experiences

escape which takes place within an urban maze that has come to be called

black ghetto. In essence, Bigger’s escape has been blocked, it is destined

for failure even before it begins. Just like in Wright’s life, he has

grown up in a ‘ghetto’ of Mississippi, in a society in which he attempts to

rebel but is condemned for doing so.

Bigger Thomas, Wright’s fictional character, is in some ways non-

fictional, perhaps because Bigger’s rebellious persona is what Wright

strived to be although was unable to do to factors that he could simply not


Bigger is an example of the black revolt against the injustices of the

white asti system, and his revolt takes the form of crime against the white

society. Born into a society that is white and hostile, (just as Wright

was) Bigger becomes the total embodiment of that society’s prejudices and

hatreds against the black man.

In a way Bigger Thomas is an autobiographical character because so much

of what occurs in bigger’s life, similarly occurred in Wright’s.

Thus we see that much of Richard Wright’s works have been influenced by

the time period in which he lived. Black Boy, Wright’s autobiography is

the perfect embodiment of just how great his life reflected his writings.

Native Son, although a fictional book, in many ways still reflected

Wright’s life as a rebel. In Native Son, Wright could articulate himself,

using Bigger Thomas as a fictional character to express the powerful spirit

which tried to overcome the white society which oppressed him.


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