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The Oxford History of the Novel in EnglishVolume 6: The American Novel 1879-1940$
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Priscilla Wald and Michael A. Elliott

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780195385342

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195385342.001.0001

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Native Son and Diasporic Modernity

Native Son and Diasporic Modernity

(p.517) 32 Native Son and Diasporic Modernity
The Oxford History of the Novel in English

Mikko Tuhkanen

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines Richard Wright's novel Native Son (1940) and its relation to the intellectual tradition of theorizing Western modernity. More specifically, it considers Native Son's contextualization of the American tragicomedy of race relations in the larger histories of industrialization, colonization, and the slave trade. It also explores Wright's use of timekeeping to tackle racism in America in terms of the social conditions imposed on African Americans by the dominant white society. Finally, the chapter explains the symbolic significance of the histories of global modernity and the African diaspora in Native Son.

Keywords:   racism, Richard Wright, Native Son, Western modernity, race relations, industrialization, colonization, slave trade, African Americans, African diaspora

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