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Zoon van Amerika

door Richard Wright

Andere auteurs: Zie de sectie andere auteurs.

LedenBesprekingenPopulariteitGemiddelde beoordelingAanhalingen
7,7401011,165 (3.95)337
Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Richard Wright's novel is just as powerful today as when it was written -- in its reflection of poverty and hopelessness, and what it means to be black in America.… (meer)
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1940s (21)
AP Lit (238)
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1-5 van 101 worden getoond (volgende | toon alle)
This was a difficult but important book to read. The essay at the end, entitled “How Bigger was Born,” is equal parts an exploration of Wright’s creative process and a klaxon sounding against white ignorance of the black experience. When Wright began this essay talking about the overused trumped-up charge of r*pe levied against black men in the Jim Crow era, I couldn’t help but think of the reaction of many conservative whites to #MeToo, to the effect that they were worried that their sons’ or their own lives would be ruined by false accusations of sexual misconduct. Wright would surely say something to the effect of “Now, you understand something of what we’ve been going through.” I don’t recall if there were any black commentators who made this point, but it wouldn’t surprise me. A key difference, of course, is that the vast majority of mostly powerful whites who were accused were likely guilty, whereas the vast majority of kostly powerless blacks were likely innocent.

I also recognized some parallels to Winston Smith in George Orwell’s 1984: a strong desire to rebel against an oppressive system, couched even in terms of violence, but ultimately the same fate and failure. ( )
  mmodine | May 2, 2024 |
well DAMN. ( )
  deborahee | Feb 23, 2024 |
A young sociopath kills a white woman he barely knows, by accident, dismembers her and burns her body, then rapes and kills his own girlfriend. He is hunted down and captured, pleads guilty and goes to trial for the murder of the white woman. The man's race is used as a convenient explanation for his crimes, while his case is picked up by various people with their own agendas as a tool for their use. The fact that Wright is drawing on his own experiences as a Black man during the depression makes this book stronger, but the trial and justice system stuff in the third part is tedious and needed more editing. It seems pretty obvious that the boy Bigger is supposed to be assumed to have been pushed by racism to become a violent criminal, even though he has friends and family who are not killers and rapists despite living in the same environment. He seems to feel no remorse for his crimes. While the fact that his rape and murder of his girlfriend seems less important to the white people involved in the case, Bigger doesn't even seem to think about Bessie as a human being, just something that got in the way and needed to be discarded.
As far as social commentary, though, this book does show a good argument for the importance of education and economic equity. The fact that Bigger and his friends and family are so poorly educated makes them more vulnerable to mistreatment by people with more education, and their lack of education makes it harder for them to make good decisions that improve their lives. Another interesting argument from this story would be the importance of purpose in men's lives. The poor women in this story, with the responsibilities on their shoulders to keep themselves and their households functional, seem less inclined to resort to stupid criminal acts with high risks. The one truly irresponsible woman in this book, Mary, is living a pampered life similar to Bigger's, in that any mistakes she makes are dealt with by her parents or other responsible adults. Both Mary and Bigger can continue to act immature and irresponsible, at least until Bigger murders Mary and thus creates consequences even his mother and Bessie can't rescue him from. ( )
  JBarringer | Dec 15, 2023 |
I read this for this year's Book Riot Read Harder Challenge.
This was my entry for "Read a classic by an author of color." I highly recommend it. I'm also studying the performance of justice in fiction and how it's skewed along color lines. Native Son definitely digs deep into that. ( )
  beckyrenner | Aug 3, 2023 |
I don't have any qualms calling this a masterpiece, despite the rough start I had with it.

Honestly, this book is reminiscent of so many books that I absolutely love. It's similar to Dostoyevksi and Kafka in the sense of wallowing in anxious misery and self loathing (I'm a sucker for a good story about anxious misery and self loathing). Similar to Invisible Man for it's examination of the racial divide and themes of black identity. Similar to to The Stranger, for it's plot and structure.

It is a brilliant critique on the racial divide in America. Excellently paced. Despite the dense themes, and unsympathetic protagonist, this book was an engaging page turner, and kept me on the edge of my seat. I'm not ashamed to admit I lost sleep over it a few nights, with empathetic anxiety.

I'd recommend it to anyone, with the caveat that the first 30 or so pages are a bit rough, but push through. ( )
  Andjhostet | Jul 4, 2023 |
1-5 van 101 worden getoond (volgende | toon alle)

» Andere auteurs toevoegen (13 mogelijk)

AuteursnaamRolType auteurWerk?Status
Wright, Richardprimaire auteuralle editiesbevestigd
Cade, PeterArtiest omslagafbeeldingSecundaire auteursommige editiesbevestigd
Diaz, DavidArtiest omslagafbeeldingSecundaire auteursommige editiesbevestigd
Fisher, Dorothy CanfieldIntroductieSecundaire auteursommige editiesbevestigd
Olzon, GöstaVertalerSecundaire auteursommige editiesbevestigd
Pellizzi, CamilloVertalerSecundaire auteursommige editiesbevestigd
Phillips, CarylIntroductieSecundaire auteursommige editiesbevestigd
Rampersad, ArnoldIntroductieSecundaire auteursommige editiesbevestigd
Reilly, JohnNawoordSecundaire auteursommige editiesbevestigd
Schuck, MaryOmslagontwerperSecundaire auteursommige editiesbevestigd
Solotaroff, TheodoreNawoordSecundaire auteursommige editiesbevestigd

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Wikipedia in het Engels (4)

Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Richard Wright's novel is just as powerful today as when it was written -- in its reflection of poverty and hopelessness, and what it means to be black in America.

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Gemiddelde: (3.95)
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