Bright and Morning Star

by Richard Wright

Start Free Trial

Explain how the New Negro Movement and Richard Wright's Bright and Morning Star address common themes of alienation, marginality, folk roots and culture.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

According to The Library of Congress and my LOC, the New Negro Movement began following World War I. It was during this time that African Americans who fought in WWI decided to take their rightful place among the American society. This movement, of the 1920s, "promoted a renewed sense of racial pride, cultural self-expression, economic independence, and progressive politics" (LOC). During this period, the NAACP lobbied for lynching to be made illegal and took part in the forward movement of the Negro Renaissance. 

Alain Locke, the first African American Rhodes Scholar and Harvard graduate, wrote Enter the New Negro (1925). This text identified the "perennial problem" of an African American's "contemporary Negro life." In the essay, Locke brings up numerous issues which African Americans faced within their new "identities" as Americans (such as sectionalization, separation from tribal life, and lack of being truly known (for when one is known better, one is liked better)). 

Richard Wright's Bright and Morning Star identifies and defines many of the same issues brought up by Alain Locke and other African American writers of the period (exampled by W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, and Langston Hughes). Wright's novel brings ups themes of African American power (identified with the death of Sue) and betrayal (illustrated through the destruction of "ideological means"). The novel's movement illustrates the betrayal of one's own needs through refusal to accept what one desires. The text illustrates that common ideologies can bring whites and blacks together, but, to do so, they must adopt ideologies far different from those of their own cultures. Therefore, through this, the text speaks of alienation, marginality, identification (and refusal of) roots, and culture.  

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team