Native Son Questions and Answers
by Richard Wright

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What problems does Richard Wright address in his novel Native Son?

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Many of the most important themes of Richard Wright’s novel Native Son are announced in the titles of its various sections or “books.”  Book 1, for instance, is titled “Fear.” Book 2 is titled “Flight”; Book 3 is titled “Fate.” Wright thus explicitly encourages readers to approach the book thematically and to look for recurrent motifs in its pages.

Book 1 deals with the theme of fear in various ways. In the opening episode, many members of the Thomas family are fear-stricken when a huge rat scurries across the floor of their apartment. Later, Bigger is afraid of embarrassing himself with his friends if he fails to participate in a crime. Later still, it is Bigger who accuses one of those friends of being afraid. When Bigger subsequently accepts a job as a servant for a wealthy white family, he is afraid that he may be accused of a sexual crime when he carries the drunken white daughter, Mary, into her bedroom. His fear of being caught in the girl’s bedroom actually...

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