Early Works: Lawd Today! Uncle Tom's Children Native Son

by Richard Wright

Hardcover, 1991




New York, N.Y. : Library of America : Distributed in the U.S. and Canada by Viking Press, c1991.


The story of Wright's account of his struggle to escape a life of poverty, ignorance, and fear in his native South. (Lawd today!) Lawd Today is the story of one day in the life of Jake Jackson, detailing his daily routine from dawn into the early hours of the next morning. (Uncle Tom's children) The common theme of the stories in Uncle Tom's Children is the struggle to find personal dignity in an oppressive society. (Native son) Bigger Thomas takes a job working for the wealthy Dalton family. He accidentally kills Mary Dalton, the daughter, and attempts to destroy the evidence by burning her body. (Black boy) A memoir detailing his youth in the South: Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee, and his eventual move to Chicago, where he establishes his writing career and becomes involved with the Communist Party in the United States. Black Boy is a text which is meant to represent slavery and oppression from the perspective of a young boy, and Wright wrote this from the perspective of himself. (The outsider) Cross Damon's search for meaningfulness and happiness falls into five stages, omnisciently narrated in books of the novel entitled: Dread, Dream, Descent, Despair, and Decision.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member SeriousGrace
I realize the point Richard Wright is trying to make is one of social injustice and how racism can lead innocent people down the wrong path. I realize there is a sociological lesson to be learned from Native Son. Bigger Thomas is portrayed as a 21 year old African American sent out to work for the
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white man so that his mother and younger siblings have a place to live. With the 1930s as the backdrop it is portrayed that the African American man of that era has a choice - either be a church-going, loyal and submissive type, or a jaded, violent, hardened criminal type. There is no chance for anything in between. Yet, Bigger tries. He is constantly trying. Unfortunately, he is haunted by a paranoid hatred of white people. His fear that they are always out to "get him" gets him in touble time and time again. He is constantly thinking the worst of everyone around him and that causes him to make terrible decisions. There is rape, murder and the death penalty in this book.
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