Uncle Tom's Children Literary Techniques

Richard Wright

Literary Techniques

Many critics have suggested that Wright's southern stories are his best work, and it is clear that they have continued to be widely read and often anthologized. Despite their occasionally too obvious didacticism, the stories in Uncle Tom's Children convey an emotional power that has not been diminished by the passage of time nor the alteration of the social conditions they address.

Uncle Tom's Children shows the influence of literary realism and naturalism. Wright's prose is direct and graphic, focusing on the dark and violent aspects of life in the rural South during the 1930s. His effective use of dialect and black folk culture increases the realism of his stories. As in much literary naturalism, Wright's characters sometimes seem doomed by their social environment.

Yet, Wright's style in Uncle Tom's Children is also affected by his didactic purpose. Wright's straightforward narration emphasizes his message, and like other proletarian authors Wright breaks from the pessimistic determinism of naturalism by idealizing some characters and supporting their heroic opposition to oppression with an underlying hope for melioration.

Wright's simple narrative technique is enriched by the use of symbols and allusions. Characters' names, natural phenomena, colors, and pervasive Biblical references are used to strengthen Wright's messages. As a result, the stories take on many of the characteristics of allegory.

(The entire section is 215 words.)