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An ancient Greek myth has been told for centuries about a boy who lives in fear Icarus had been forced to live his life imprisoned until one day he had the opportunity to escape He had been provided with a pair of wax wings with which he could flee his captor He took advantage of these wings and set sail While in flight away from the prison he discovered the joy and exhilaration that came with freedom The boy challenged the wings and voyaged higher and closer to the hot sun Soon enough his wings melted and he perished in the vast sea This story has served as a recurring theme in modern literature In the early 1940s acclaimed author Richard Wright wrote his masterpiece Native Son This novel deals with many of the same metaphorical ideas that first arose in the Greek myth Wrights protagonist Bigger was a young African-American man who had been oppressed all his life by the white racist society which surrounded him Much like Icarus Bigger discovered a fatal way to release himself from his imprisoned life And like Icarus Bigger also challenged his freedom and failed Wright splits Biggers story into three chapters Fear Flight and Fate Each is significant to Biggers journey through life Throughout the first section of the novel Bigger lives his life in fear He fears the white man the police religion love and most importantly being known as a coward Biggers friend Gus states during an argument with Bigger You calling me scared so nobodyll see how scared you is29 Bigger reacts by leaping at him with intentions to inflict pain Bigger responds this way to all of his fears To shield himself from the acknowledgement of weakness he deals with his fears through violence His eyes red with anger and fear his fists clenched and held stiffly to his side 28 The reader observes one of Biggers violent acts during the first
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