Sunday, August 4, 2019

Symbols: The Essential Element :: Literary Analysis, Native Son

Symbols: the basis of all literary works. Without symbols books become boring and lifeless. Symbols assist the reader in discovering a deeper meaning. In Richard Wright’s novel, Native Son, symbols are used to show death, faith and living in a white run world. In the first book, readers are introduced to the rat. Bigger is shown attempting to destroy the rat. When the rat is deceased, he appears as a â€Å"flat black body†¦ [with] two yellow tusks† (6). With this death, Bigger’s murder streak starts. In the gruesome death of the rat, the ghastly deaths of Mary Dalton and Bessie Mears are foreshadowed. Mary’s death- while not gruesome at first- then turns suddenly violent when Bigger â€Å"sawed the blade into the flesh†¦ [and] sent the blade of the hatchet into the bone of the throat† (92). Though Mary initially died by suffocation, her head being chopped off is as disturbing as the death of the rat. However, Bessie’s death was terrifying from the start. Bessie was murdered in the most atrocious manner. Bessie is not only raped, but bludgeoned to death by Bigger â€Å"[lifting] the brick again and again† (237). Bessie’s appalling death is the worst of all the deaths. Bessie appear s to have done nothing wrong yet she is murdered at the hands of Bigger out of fear. Wright’s use of the rat as a symbol shows how death is a horrendous event in life. Wright’s use of the cross helps readers recognize faith. After Bigger is arrested, he is soon visited by his mother’s preacher, Reverend Hammond. The reverend visits Bigger in an attempt to convince him that he must have faith in God. After praying for Bigger, Reverend Hammond â€Å"[draws] from his pocket a wooden cross with a chain upon it† (286). The Reverend then placed it around Bigger’s neck where it â€Å"[hangs] next to the skin of Bigger’s chest† (286). The cross presented to Bigger is Hammond’s attempt at forcing Bigger to believe and hope for something better. The cross is once again seen when Bigger is leaving the Dalton home, yet this time it is in a negative light. As Bigger exits the Dalton home, he sees a â€Å"[looming]†¦ burning cross† (337). Bigger then questions if â€Å"white people [wanted] him to love Jesus too† (337). It is not until people are yelling at him that this is a cross of hate, not love and faith. When Bigger returns to the van he â€Å"[grips] the cross and [snatches] it from his throat† (338).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.