Oppression And Racism In Richard Wright's Native Son

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Oppression and Racism what are they? The dictionary defines oppression as “A prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or exercise of authority”, and Racism as “A belief that a particular race or group of people is superior or inferior to another”. Both of these exist in many societies and take on many forms and have no respect of your gender, your race or your financial status. In the early 1900’s in many parts of the United States these forces affected the decisions of many and controlled many of the actions of the people in that era. These people were ignorant to the fact that all men were equal in the eyes of God. Richard Wright in his novel, “Native Son” introduces Bigger Thomas and details his life as a black man living in what he calls a white world. Here he voices how the black people were oppressed and the white people were the oppressors. In this novel Bigger experienced this oppression and racism first hand and it was all that he knew growing up in Chicago in the 1930’s. Wright expresses that he is full of shame as to living conditions of his family, he is full of fear of the white world he is living in, and full of fear for the future.

I feel that Wright successfully allows the reader to see the life and struggles of an African American in Chicago in the 1930’s. His character Bigger Thomas is a poor, uneducated, twenty year old black man who lived with his family in a very cramped apartment in Chicago. The neighborhood these apartments were in was considered to be the
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