Native Son deals with the dangers an overbearing and over-influential society can do to a human being, while Cry, The Beloved Country tells of the possibility of hope in such a world that strikes fear.
The story tells of a young oppressed black man in a society dominated by racist propaganda. Showered by racism in every way possible, Bigger begins believing what he sees, that black men are savages and made to commit crimes against young white women. Viewing all whites as an oppressive and hostile bunch rather than as individuals, he too becomes as racist as the society that overbears him.
One obvious difference between Native Son and Cry, The Beloved Country is the point of view. In Native Son, Bigger, the criminal and the story’s protagonist, is the one whose trials and tribulations we as the reader experience. We watch as everything happens to Bigger. I wouldn’t say happens to us directly, as it is not told in first-person, but in third-person. We are almost in his head as a combination of his fear and anger builds, even as Mary and Jan attempt to befriend him. We can understand the weight that this racist America bears on a young man in these times of the late 30s. And depending on the individual, we can almost understand what may cause Bigger to derive empowerment from smothering Mary to death and decapitating her so she may fit in the furnace.
As mentioned, all takes place in America, Chicago's South Side to be exact. The dilapidated apartments are rented to blacks at high costs by "slumlords" such as Mr. Dalton. In most cases, a large family must suffer to squeeze themselves into a squalid room with no privacy from each other. Often having to find work as a “servant” of some kind and live at the place of work, they send their checks back home to their families so they may survive for the next week or so.
Native Son tends to focus more so on the problem itself of racism in the world than a solution. Wright brings out the ‘nitty-gritty’ of this society,...