Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on Literature No. 4 October, 2016 Pp. 58- 72
Experiences of African-Americans as Reflected in Richard Wright’s Native Son 1940
English Department, Faculty of Teacher Training and Education
Lambung Mangkurat University
Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan, Indonesia
The historical fact shows African-Americans lived under white domination. In the past time, they were enslaved by White Americans. When the slavery was abolished after the Civil War, the black people were regarded as inferior citizens; they have still been treated unfairly by the white people The spirit of independence has been marred by Americans enslaving the black people in the era of slavery and dominating them in the following eras. This paper will discuss reflection of African-American experiences in literature. The intended experiences are those happened in the Independence Era reflected in Native Son 1940 by Richard Wright. This paper tries to answer the question : “ How were the black people socio-culturally dominated in Native Son?. The discussin shows that (1) the black man (Bigger Thomas) as the representation of Black people (African-Americans) was always in a dilemmatic condition leaving him without any options. Whatever he chose, will have negative consequences, (2) the struggle for ‘equality’ through ‘violence’ will result in a ‘tragic fate’, and (3) the novel reflected the black people who yearned for freedom from white domination and expected to have good education, good employment, and equality in political opportunity, law enforcement/law protection, and in other sociocultural life.
Keywords: African-American, dilemmatic condition, good life, and tragic fate