Themes and Meanings

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

“Bright and Morning Star” is the fifth and last story in Wright’s collection Uncle Tom’s Children (1940), whose title is an obvious allusion to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s antislavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1851-1852). If, as President Abraham Lincoln suggested, Stowe’s novel started the Civil War, then Wright’s story continues the saga of war, specifically the war between blacks and whites. Divided into six sections, the story uses communism as the racial battleground.

If Sue’s murder were the end of the story, “Bright and Morning Star” might be viewed as a tragic tale of the powerful destroying the powerless. This, however, is not the final note in this last story in Uncle Tom’s Children. On the contrary, Sue dies victorious, finally realizing that what she had viewed as the “white mountain” of the race that had persecuted her was now toppled through her action. She lies on the ground, in her last moments of life, without struggling; she is at peace, experiencing an intensity of life in her last moments. She realizes that the white men may think that they have killed her, but in reality, she has actually relinquished her life before they could take it from her, thus controlling her own destiny. When her lips move soundlessly, mouthing the words “yuh didnt git yuh didnt yuh didnt,” Sue becomes one with her bright and morning star.

The theme of betrayal is at the heart of “Bright and...

(The entire section is 501 words.)


(Short Stories for Students)

Racial Violence
Wright’s story ‘‘Bright and Morning Star’’ begins with Sue standing at the window of her house,...

(The entire section is 993 words.)