Symbolism And Imagery In Richard Wright's Native Son

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Two of the reoccurring literary devices in Richard Wright’s novel “Native Son” are symbolism and imagery. Wright uses these devices to perfection and they are what make his novel so moving and powerful. The ones that stood out to me the most are the rat scenesin the beginning of the novel, the pigeon flying onto the railroad tracks, Marys severed heard, Biggers dream about running in fear, and the snow. In the opening scene of the novel, Bigger has to deal with a disgusting rat in his family’s one-room apartment. A disgusting black rat jumped onto biggers pant leg and bit on to it, bigger shook his leg until the rat flew off and then eventually killed it in front of his whole family with a shoe. This rat is important on a few levels. Superficially, the rat shows us the kind of filth and poverty that Bigger and his family are forced to live in. The rat could also be looked at as symbol of bigger himself, the rat comes into the domestic sphere of the Thomas house and is killed and Bigger comes into the domestic sphere of the Dalton household and is ultimately killed in the end. I…show more content…
He of course questions bigger for the murder and that night Bigger had a dream where he was running away after being warned by a tolling church bell. He’s carrying a heavy package. This whole scene is bathed in a red glare, the glow from the furnace’s light. When he stops to unwrap the package, he finds his own severed head inside and his hair thick with blood. He starts to run to find a place to hide. Instead, he runs into some white people who want to ask him about the head. He’s standing there with blood on his hands. Finally, he gives up. He curses them and throws the head right into their faces. The dream symbolizes Bigger’s guilt, as well as the growing sense that he’s going to face another confrontation with white people. Most importantly, it symbolizes his daunting
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