Monday, July 11, 2011

The Musical Foundation of Native Son

We will put up a longer post on the what's in your headphones when you read Native Son.  Suffice it to say that the book of Richard, or at least this chapter, is more skeptical than either the book of Langston or the book of Ralph.

Mark this highly nuanced passage:

"The singing filled his ears; it was complete, self-contained, and it mocked his fear and loneliness, his deep yearning for a sense of wholeness.  Its fulness contrasted so sharply with his hunger, its richness with his emptiness, that he recoiled from it while answering it.  Would it not have been better for him had he lived in the world the music sang of? It would have been easy to have lived in it, for it was his mother's world, humble, contrite, believing.  It had a center, a core, an axis, a heart which he needed but could never have unless he laid his head upon a pillow of humility and gave up his hope of living in the world.  And he would never do that."


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