Women in Richard Wright's "Native Son" Analytical Essay

Women in Richard Wright's "Native Son"
A look at the role of women, their character and how they are portrayed in Richard Wright's novel "Native Son".
# 2284 | 1,970 words | 5 sources | 2000 | US
Published on Feb 16, 2003 in Literature (American) , English (Analysis)

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A discussion of sexism and the role of women in "Native Son" by Richard Wright. The author investigates how they relate to the authority of the major male characters and to what extent they are portrayed in a negative light.

From the Paper:

"In his most famous novel, Native Son, Richard Wright's female characters exist not as independent individuals, but only in relation to the male figures of authority that surround them--husbands, sons, fathers, boyfriends, and of course Bigger Thomas, the protagonist. In fact, the role of each woman that Wright presents to us is meaningless without a male counterpart; the women cannot function on their own. Their sole purpose in the novel is to further the story, to put Bigger in new and more dangerous situations by questioning or threatening his male authority. Each major woman character in the story represents through her personality and actions a different kind of threat to Bigger's masculine power. There is Bigger's mother, who offers him nothing in the way of motherly support, only constant nagging and insult. Next we have Mary Dalton, the idealistic and headstrong young white girl whose determination to connect with Bigger and make him feel her equal gets her killed. Her mother, Mrs. Dalton, is virtually her complete opposite: weak, frail, and helpless. Her one influence on the storyline is her indirect responsibility for her daughter's murder. And finally there is Bessie, Bigger's overworked, excitable, alcoholic girlfriend and second murder victim. In general she is not intelligent or strong enough to pose a real threat to his security, but when she questions Bigger's authority he is compelled to kill her. Each of these women is different, but in the end each plays the same part--the intimidator, the threat to Bigger and what he wants."

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Women in Richard Wright's "Native Son" (2003, February 16) Retrieved March 23, 2023, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/women-in-richard-wright-native-son-2284/

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