Yup, we’ve got that one

And more than one million more. Become a member today and read free for two weeks.

Read free for two weeks

Editor’s Note

“Powerful & Timeless...”

James Baldwin said every black American has a “private Bigger Thomas living in his skull.” Sixty years later, Wright’s novel about race & poverty in America is as powerful & timely as ever.
Scribd Editor

Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Wright's powerful novel is an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America.

Topics: Dark, Murder, Poverty, Race Relations, Chicago, Crime, Realistic, Civil and Political Rights, Prison, African American Culture & Characters, Bildungsroman, Realism, Harlem Renaissance, Existentialism, Violent, 1930s, and Urban

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061935411
List price: $10.99
Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
Availability for Native Son
With a 30 day free trial you can read online for free
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.
Excellent read using the restored version. Wright gets long-winded during the trial scenes. The story is a vivid reminder of socio-political effects within our cultural history. Great fodder for ethical discussions about capital punishment.more
Fantastic and important novel, bogged down a bit by a lengthy courtroom speech towards the end. The speech is important, don't get me wrong, and there are still plenty of people who need to read it (the whole "just work hard and you'll be successful" crowd), but it just dragged on what was a relentlessly intense and troubling book. I don't think there was any work of fiction like this before it was published in 1940, and I am certain it influenced more than a few civil rights leaders and activists in the 50s and 60s. I found Bigger's final realization about race relations to be especially compelling, and perhaps why the left fails to reach a good part of the white lower class (I don't want to give too much away.)more
Here is the scariest character in literature. Even Wright is terrified of him. I had this thought as I finished Native Son: I thought, "This is the bravest book I've ever read." I've read a lot of protest books, a lot of warnings, but most authors give you a way out: "Look out, but here's what you should maybe try to do." With Bigger Thomas, Wright says, "Well, here's what you got." And...holy shit, man.

He's such a powerful force that Wright spends the entire last third of his own book basically saying "Holy shit!" Which is why this only gets four stars from me; that "Holy shit" is much weaker than the first two thirds, and I can't recommend this book to you without the caveat that the last 150 pages is pretty tough going.

So listen, I'm not gonna tell you to skip the last third because I'm not really important enough to say something like that, but in case you do, here's what happens: Bigger is not going to win that court case. There.more
The unfolding of this story has the inevitability of a car stuck on a railway line with an express train hurtling towards it. You know what's going to happen, you don't want it to happen, you can't look away while it happens. When the smash comes, it's still a massive shock. I caught myself muttering, "No, no, no, don't do it." as I was reading.

A very affecting and intense book.more
Read all 26 reviews

Reviews

Excellent read using the restored version. Wright gets long-winded during the trial scenes. The story is a vivid reminder of socio-political effects within our cultural history. Great fodder for ethical discussions about capital punishment.more
Fantastic and important novel, bogged down a bit by a lengthy courtroom speech towards the end. The speech is important, don't get me wrong, and there are still plenty of people who need to read it (the whole "just work hard and you'll be successful" crowd), but it just dragged on what was a relentlessly intense and troubling book. I don't think there was any work of fiction like this before it was published in 1940, and I am certain it influenced more than a few civil rights leaders and activists in the 50s and 60s. I found Bigger's final realization about race relations to be especially compelling, and perhaps why the left fails to reach a good part of the white lower class (I don't want to give too much away.)more
Here is the scariest character in literature. Even Wright is terrified of him. I had this thought as I finished Native Son: I thought, "This is the bravest book I've ever read." I've read a lot of protest books, a lot of warnings, but most authors give you a way out: "Look out, but here's what you should maybe try to do." With Bigger Thomas, Wright says, "Well, here's what you got." And...holy shit, man.

He's such a powerful force that Wright spends the entire last third of his own book basically saying "Holy shit!" Which is why this only gets four stars from me; that "Holy shit" is much weaker than the first two thirds, and I can't recommend this book to you without the caveat that the last 150 pages is pretty tough going.

So listen, I'm not gonna tell you to skip the last third because I'm not really important enough to say something like that, but in case you do, here's what happens: Bigger is not going to win that court case. There.more
The unfolding of this story has the inevitability of a car stuck on a railway line with an express train hurtling towards it. You know what's going to happen, you don't want it to happen, you can't look away while it happens. When the smash comes, it's still a massive shock. I caught myself muttering, "No, no, no, don't do it." as I was reading.

A very affecting and intense book.more
The only book I have ever chucked around a room and into a trashcan. I was required to read it for Honors English freshman year. I don't think it's a good choice, as I've heard that numerous classmates of mine had done the same thing. Maybe if I re-read it I would like it better, since it is a classic.more
Rated: B+Powerful book. Keeps you hoping things would turn out differently, but for this black American (Bigger Thomas) racial realities in the 1930's lead to a tragic story and ending.more
Load more
scribd