Genre: Classic- short story/ novella collection
Publication Date: 1938
Page Count: 263
The latest read for my American Literature class is Uncle Tom's Children by Richard Wright. This is a collection of short stories that all connect thematically. All of the stories center around racial violence in the American South during the time of the Jim Crow Laws.
I really like short story collections where the stories connect to each other so I really enjoyed the form of this book. Not only were the stories connected by their obvious racial violence themes, but there was also smaller elements such as weather and water that could be traced throughout the stories. These stories were really hard to get through at some points. They are very honest portraits of the violence and intolerance that frequented the American South, and some of the characters that are on the other end of this violence are very young. But these stories are absolutely necessary in American Literature and should be read and shared into the infinite future.
My version, which is the centennial edition pictured above, starts off with a narrative essay by Wright entitled, "The Ethics of Living Jim Crow" which was amazing, and possibly more powerful than the violent images in the short stories that follow it. I highly recommend checking out that short essay even if you plan on skipping the rest of the novel.
Novels about such heavy themes can be difficult to talk about because of how heavy and undesirable the themes are, but it's important that they continue to be read and discussed instead of just being pushed aside because the topic is uncomfortable. If you are looking for a read that covers racial violence, or the Jim Crow laws, I really recommend this one. Wright is a brilliant writer and he doesn't shy away from the truth, which is exactly how you want authors to tackle such difficult topics.