The significance of the title "Native Son" by Richard Wright and "Night" by Elie Wiesel.

Essay by tstokes429High School, 12th gradeA+, May 2006

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Authors often choose the titles for their novels based on the main character or protagonist. These titles give deeper insight or change the meaning entirely as the novel progresses and the relationships between characters and their environment become clearer. Two excellent examples of significant titles are Native Son by Richard Wright and Elie Wiesel's Night.

The very title of the novel, Native Son, instantly makes the reader think about ideas of "nativism" and "territory." From the opening scene of the novel, where Bigger is killing the rat that is in their apartment, to Bigger's execution at the end of the novel, there is a tension between Bigger's "native" status and his lack of political rights. Bigger was born in Mississippi, not Chicago, and the idea of a "native son" applies more to Bigger's status as an American as opposed to his status as a native of Chicago. Throughout the novel, Richard Wright continually emphasizes that Bigger would be no better off in Mississippi or in Harlem.

As America's "native son," Bigger is born an American, but more importantly, the person that he becomes, is a product of America's native soil and its poor black communities. The novel continually presents Bigger's feelings of being trapped and his lack of personal and physical freedom. In the end, Wright makes the argument that poverty and American racism has remade Bigger into the "native son" that he has become. Basically Bigger Thomas is a " product of his environment".

Elie Wiesel's experiences during the holocaust, one of the darkest periods in human history, were like a journey into a night of total blackness. Hence the novel's title "Night". During his stay in the various concentration camps, Wiesel witnessed and endured the worst kind of man's inhumanity to his fellow Jewish people. Prisoners...