SC State English Professor Conducts Critical Analysis on Novelist Richard Wright

Monday, September 20, 2010

As a young and emerging writer growing up in Harlem, New York, SC State English professor, Dr. Butler Brewton, was influenced by 20th century writers such as William Butler Yeats, Langston Hughes, Frank Yerby, William Faulkner and Richard Wright. This summer, Brewton published a novel and a literary critical analysis entitled, “Richard Wright's Thematic Treatment of Women in ‘Uncle Tom's Children,’ ‘Black Boy,’ and ‘Native Son.’”  Brewton’s enthusiasm for probing literature inspired him to write the book.

Richard Wright was born in the early 1900’s on Rucker's Plantation, between Roxie and Natchez, Miss. Wright published his first short story, "The Voodoo of Hell's Half-Acre," in 1924. In his novels, Wright challenged society with great works such as “Uncle Tom's Children” (1938). “Native Son”  followed in 1940, and “Black Boy” in 1945.  The first bestselling novel by a Black American writer, “Native Son” is a three part seriesbook.It was the first Book of the Month Club selection by an African-American writer.


“Once ‘Native Son’ appeared, American culture was changed forever,” said Wright. Brewton shared the same sentiment. “Wright’s works, ‘Uncle Tom's Children,’ ‘Black Boy’ and ‘Native Son,’ changed the American society forever,” said Brewton. 

As a young child, Brewton, began reading Wright. “In my book, (Academica Press, LLC, 2010) I developed a critical analysis,” said Brewton.  “Based on my readings,   I found that Wright said more about the woman's role in the black persona's life than what anyone suspected,” Brewton continued.  “While analyzing these works, I went into unttrodden territory to uncover something about Wright that even he himself might have not been aware of,”  noted Brewton.

While trotting into untrodden territory, Brewton discovered that there were many symbolisms in Wright’s works that related to the role of women during the 1900’s.  “In my book, I analyzed the symbolic and thematic meaning of the rather flat female characters, black and white, in the mechanism which combine to be a commentary on the effects of racism in the South and North regions of America,” says Brewton.  “I categorized the gift of both racial type women according to my use of ‘mommism’ and ‘mothering,’ he continued. “Mommisim” is a coined word to suggest the nature of the white woman’s gift to the black persona, and “mothering” is the nature of the black woman’s gift, according to Brewton.

C-Span 2 is presently considering Brewton’s book as a discussion work for its program.  Richard Wright's Thematic Treatment of Women in ‘Uncle Tom's Children,’ ‘Black Boy,’ and ‘Native Son’”  is presently in America, China, Europe and Japan, and is being reviewed by Washington University for the Modern Language Association (MLA). MLA strengthens the study and teaching of language and literature. Furthermore, PublishAmerica, LLP asked if Brewton would accept a contract for his autobiography.  Brewton signed the contract and is currently writing it, with a time limit of six months. 

Brewton enjoys writing and believes that his book is significant for students to read. “I think such a book as this one is of major importance to students, not only for their insight on Wright, but for their greater understanding of the psychological shape of the American mind as a result of a history of racism, a racism that continues even until this day, as subtle as it might appear,” said Brewton.

Brewton has also written poetry that has been posted in college text books around the world. “A Reader for Developing Writers” (McGraw- Hill) was published in 1994.  His poetry has also appeared in collections of original poetry, like “Rafters and other Poems” published in 1995, “Indian Summer” published in 1997 and “Stray Cat on the Dirt Road,” which was published in 2004.  

Prior to working at SC State, Brewton worked as an English professor at Furman University in Greenville, S.C. for over 12 years where he taught British and American poetry. Before working at Furman University, he worked as an English professor at Montclair State University (MSU) in Upper Montclair, N.J.  During his tenure at MSU, he taught creative writing, modern fiction, myth and literature and African-American literature. He also taught American poetry in undergraduate and graduate courses, introducing several new courses and seminars such as, “Richard Wright and His Contemporaries,” “Seven Innovators in American Poetry,” “The Bestseller Phenomenon” and “Poets and Writers in Motion.”  

Brewton resides in Columbia, S.C. with his wife Blanca.

For additional information about “Richard Wright's Thematic Treatment of Women in ‘Uncle Tom's Children,’ ‘Black Boy,’ and ‘Native Son,’” contact Dr. Butler Brewton at (803) 536-8355.