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Native Son: modern day Oresteia?

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message 1: by Ben (last edited Jun 06, 2012 08:02AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ben Native Son is often compared to Crime and Punishment, but I see far more parallels to the Greek tragedy The Oresteia: Agamemnon / The Libation Bearers / The Eumenides. Specifically, the Defense attorney's summation in which he pleas for Bigger's life very much recalls Athena's own defense of Orestes, in that both are calling for mercy in order to end a cycle of revenge and bloodshed that has gone on for generations. In the case of The Oresteia, the cycle impacts a literal family: the House of Atreus. In Native Son, the "family" is American society, continuing to pay the price for systemic racism and subjugation of the working class. Just as Orestes is the most recent descendant of the family feud, Bigger is the "native son" of his ancestors' hate and fear.

Any thoughts?


message 2: by Demetrius (new)

Demetrius Sherman Your analysis is among the best comments on this book.
I read this a while ago, and your thoughts are worth considering.
Native Son is a harsh story that you won't forget. The prose of Richard Wright is "can't put down" writing.

I'd like to see more of your reviews and comments.


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