International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Racial Discrimination and Violence: A Psycho-Social Analysis of Richard Wright's Native Son and the Long Dream
Dr. Hafsah Barrak Albarrak

Racial discrimination, the quest for freedom and the struggle for survival are the major aspects of African- American history. From the advent of the seventeenth century up to the twentieth century, African-Americans were exposed to various forms of oppression and discrimination that devastated their psyches and forced them to resort to escape mechanisms necessary for survival. Therefore, African-American writers, among whom Richard Wright (1908-1960) is a leading figure, have always been concerned with pinpointing the African-American predicament within the socio-political context of that history. The main objective of this paper is to explore Wright’s portrayal of the African-American predicament in the first half of the twentieth century and to psychoanalytically examine the impact of racial oppression on African-Americans, especially in Native Son (1940) and The Long Dream (1958). Set in the North and the South during the 1930s and 1940s, Native Son and The Long Dream, respectively, strike at the exclusion of African- Americans and their futile hopes of integration. This paper demonstrates that in these two novels, the history of racial oppression produced psychologically disordered AfricanAmericans who are chained by the labyrinth of neurotic anxiety, fear, and castration complex. Based on the psychoanalytic criticism which argues that a literary text is an expression of its • author's own neuroses, the paper also refers to Wright’s autobiography Black Boy (1945) in order to prove that Wright’s two novels are a portrait of his own life and ideological stances; his characters’ ruthless experiences and their reactions in the two novels are simply his own.

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