The Tone of "Bright and Morning Star"

Topics: Black people, Short story, Communism Pages: 6 (2029 words) Published: January 21, 2006
Under Communist rule, everyone is equal by law. That's why during the 1920 to the 1950's, African Americans flocked to join the party. Included in the flock of black Communists was the renowned black author, Richard Wright, whose works are today known for their dark portrayal of black Communist life. A critic summarizes the influence on his stories: "As a poor black child growing up in the deep South, Richard Wright suffered poverty, hunger, racism and violence... experiences that later became central themes of his work" ("Richard Wright" 1). Richard Wright's many literary work, especially his short stories, all deal with those dark themes. One of his most famous short stories, "Bright and Morning Star", is a story that: "[. . .] carefully investigates the inner psychology of Aunt Sue, a mother of Communists[. . .]" as an essayist summarizing the story's plot (Kent 43). In other words, the story follows the deadly and dangerous dilemmas of Aunt Sue, a black Communist mother of black Communist sons living in the South, as she tries to protect her son that is not in jail, Johnny-Boy, and the other Communist members at the same time.. He is out recruiting for a Communist meeting, and the Sheriff and his white mob are hunting him down. Wright writes the story so expertly that the reader really experiences Communist life in the South, and get caught up in the danger and suspense of the story, living it as though he or she were part of the story! He was able to create this tone of fright and suspense using stylistic devices like colloquialisms, foreshadowing, and symbolism.

Richard Wright uses the stylistic device called colloquialisms, dialogue that was very realistic for the setting, to help the reader mentally experience the story, making it more frightening and suspenseful. Colloquialisms used in "Bright and Morning Star" were extremely realistic for the Southern setting. A colloquialism is a piece of dialogue that is written exactly how it would be said in real life- if the character has an accent, muffles words, or skips over consonants, it is written so. Puts a critic, Wright "[. . .] emphasizes the pronunciation of words uttered both by a stereotypical Southern person as well as by a stereotypical African American living in the South" ("Bright and Morning Star" 41). So, since the story is set in the South(where everyone has an accent), all of the dialogue is written in a realistic colloquial form, and as realistically as the dialogue could possibly get.

The character's simple sentences in the story, such as "Yuh an got the right sperit" and "N some hot cawffee" written in colloquial form lets readers imagine a Southern conversation very clearly and bring them into the story to enhance the overall story's tone (Wright 237). Writes a critic about colloquialisms, "This type of dialogue, if done carefully, pulls the reader into the setting" ("Bright and Morning Star" 41). That statement is true because colloquialisms add the sense of sound to the story's overall sensory experience, making it more intense and realistic. Pulling a reader into the story allows the reader to get caught up in the fear and suspense it brings. Using these stupendously realistic colloquialisms, Wright was able to add fear and suspense to the story's tone.

Foreshadowing, another literary device Wright uses to create a fearful, suspenseful tone, is defined as actions, plot twists, or dialogue put into a story in order to give readers a hint at what might happen further into the story. There is much foreshadowing in "Bright Morning Star", in order to create a "perfectly wrought tension" to keep readers in suspense ("Bright and Morning Star" 41). The major foreshadowing, however, is contained in the conflict of the story - more specifically, the desperate actions taken by both sides of the conflict during the story's course. On one side of the conflict is a white mob led by the Sheriff, hunting for Communists in Aunt Sue's small town. To be more...

Cited: JonMonhamed, Abdul. "Rehistoricizing Wright: The Psychopolitical Function of Death in ‘Uncle Tom 's Children '." Richard Wright. 1987. pp. 191-228. Rpt. in Short
Story Criticism
Kent, George. "Richard Wright: Blackness and the Adventure of Western Culture." in CLA Journal, Vol XII, No. 4, June, 1969, pp. 322-43.
Oleson, Carole
"Richard (Nathaniel) Wright." Contemporary Authors, 2005. POWER Library. 23 March 2005.

"Richard Wright." U*X*L Biographies. U*X*L, 2005. Student Resource Center. Thomson Gale. 08 March 2005.

Wright, Richard. "Bright and Morning Star." Uncle Tom 's Children. New York: Harper Collins, 1989. pp. 221-263.
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