Native Son by Richard Wright
Independent Reading


  • Read the novel in a timely manner; your listserv participation will depend on you not procrastinating.
  • Write answers to the questions; copy and paste this page into Word and type your answers. You will be answering 20 of the 30. Read directions carefully.
  • Participate in listserv discussion at least three times; posing one question or comment and responding to others (making references to the text). Use the same listserv as for Sophie's World.
  • See calendar for due date.

Optional essay:

  • Write an essay on your own time (give yourself about 40 minutes) and hand in your revised, typed copy with the questions. Essay choices follow.

Essay Choices:

  1. (Idea/Theme): Buckley's closing statement indirectly proves Max's argument that Bigger and millions like him have been created by oppression. (It is indirect in that he does not intend to prove Max's argument). Reread Buckley's closing statement, paying special attention to the last two paragraphs on page 476. Show how Wright's diction and tone in Buckley's speech create the ironic effect.
  2. (Character): Bigger's circumstances occur in an escalated frenzy of irrational behavior (at least from our point of view). Wright says of Bigger who feels helpless, "Either he was too weak, or the world was too strong; he didn't know which" (399). Discuss the elements of this tension as a factor in Bigger's character development that led to his end.

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