Native Son Archive
Spatial conflicts and curiosities (the lighthearted call to the open road, for example) can undergird the entire momentum and tone of a novel. Without knowing a character’s place in the world, it’s challenging to gather the full context of their decisions.
What evolved from an unfinished novel manuscript, through a decades-long struggle with the legacy of Richard Wright, Henry James, and the white Lost Generation, are Baldwin’s 1956 and 1962 books as well as one of his most enduring insights into the struggle to end America’s innocence.
Complicated bad guys are nothing new. There’s something delicious about complex entertainment; we’re able to envision ourselves in the shoes of the antihero and exact revenge or serve righteous justice, but we’re also able to vicariously live through their actions that lie outside the boundaries of acceptable behavior. When