Film Review: “Native Son” by Richard Wright
The Native Son portrays the exploitation of blacks by a white-dominated society in 1930’s Chicago and the shocking reality of the kind of lives they led before the American Civil Rights Era, and in some ways, still do today. The relationship between blacks ; whites is not comfortable and is charged with tension stemming from the great socioeconomic rift between the two races. In many ways, the movie depicts the cause-and-effect relationship between social and economic conditions and the motivations of an individual.
Bigger’s character was spawned by a society that oppresses his kind. He was a representative of the blacks who, until today are often victims of great social forces and were left with few choices in life. One of the underlying themes in the movie that touches on reason for the strained social relationship between blacks and whites is the argument that social conditions greatly affect how people act, specifically, that oppression and deprivation can cause people to make bad choices.
Though it was set at the time of the Depression, it should be noted that the issues presented in the film are still plaguing the country today. Racial prejudice against blacks and a great economic disparity between them and whites remain as some of the pressing problems in American society.
The real antagonist of the story is the ruthless society dominated and controlled by whites; Bigger, representative of blacks, lashes out at it by committing murder. He, as well as many people with the same race and socioeconomic status, are puppets in the hands of grave social and economic forces—discrimination, inequality, the perpetuation of black stereotypes, and disenfranchisement by a society where whites reign supreme are some of the major forces of institutionalized racism that have shaped them into the kind of person that they have become.