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Chapter 11 - Moviegoers and Cinematic Seers in Wright’s Fiction

from Part II - Social and Cultural Contexts

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 July 2021

Michael Nowlin
Affiliation:
University of Victoria, British Columbia
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Summary

Black male spectators in Wright's fiction were drawn to the fascination of watching white characters on the screen in the Jim Crow Era.   They were nonetheless aware that their desires for the seductive women on the screen or in the posters were taboo during this time, creating a sense of alienation and only forced ability to identify with white protagonists. This article analyzes the responses of Jake in Lawd Today! and of Bigger in Native Son as they succumb to the temptations of the glittery world of movies on the screen and in movie posters. The article then turns to Wright's exploration of later characters in "The Man Who Lived Underground" and Cross Damom in The Outsiders, who can be considered cinematic seers. The characters place themselves as protagonists in film plots and create their own sense of power over how cinema portrayed Black males. Wright wanted to find ways for more Black impact on both cinema and other forms of media culture This trajectory is traced in the article.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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