"I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all..."
–Richard Wright

By publishing Native Son, Richard Wright hurled words into the darkness, and the echo is still sounding today. Though the novel could be oversimplified and relegated to the category of protest, we must also consider the structure and words with which Wright articulates that protest in order to understand the total impact of that novel during Wright’s time and why the novel is still relevant to
readers today. It is this balance of artfulness and message that I want you to consider while reading the novel, and also what I want you to seek out in your surrounding communities by exploring someone or something that is using the word as a weapon today to create a sense of hunger for life.

The Project:

You will explore the use of the word as a weapon in your surrounding world and community with the ultimate goal of creating a multimedia presentation of artifacts and reflections from your research. As a class, we will create a website virtual museum of the presentations, to which you will post an introduction and representative artifact to be viewed by students from other “sister” schools who will  also share with us their similar projects.

Graffiti as Weaponry


 This mural, purportedly created by Banksy, relies upon words to make its statement. What did the artist hope to communicate by this act of vandalism?


The South Park Bridge Mural Project

 The South Park Bridge was closed in the summer of 2010, frustrating many people who feel their community is being abandoned by the city. How does the mural art, especially the language used alongside images, communicate the protest of this community?

Find an individual, an organization or institution in the surrounding community that qualifies, from your perspective, as using words as weapons. Consider artists, politicians, writers, etc., but keep in mind that you will need to explain both the objective of their “speech” and the artfulness of it. 

1. You should try to arrange communication with that person or group either electronically or physically in which you ask questions about the particular nature of their work and their objectives.

2.  Create an exhibit of your work for a presentation whether through photography, audio recording or podcasting, video recording, or through any medium you choose to best represent the weaponry of the words. 

3.  Write a paragraph introduction to your selected artifact in which you provide background information, explain the objectives of the person or group are (what they are critiquing, protesting, bringing attention to, battling, etc.) and what artistry the person or group brings to their weaponry.

As a storehouse for project ideas, such as websites, videos, audio or just text, we will use this Snipd site for which I will provide you a user name and password . Use this to share media with each other as we work on the project.