In his most famous novel, "Native Son", Richard Wright
successfully develops three major themes: Racism, violence
as a personal necessity, and social injustice. He has
captured the powerful emotions and suffering, the
frustrations and yearnings, the restlessness and hysteria,
of all the Bigger Thomas's in this grippingly dramatic
Wright shows to us, through Bigger Thomas, how bad things
were for the black race. He tells how Bigger was raised in
a one-room apartment, living with his family and rats. The
rent was very high, and his mother was barely able to pay
it. Bigger's education like most blacks at that time , did
not exceed the eighth grade. Without the help of the Relief
Agency, Bigger and his family may not have been able to
keep up much longer financially. Bigger had no money,
except for the spare change his mother gives him, so he
would usually just hang out at the pool hall, which was in
the black district, or southside.
Bigger used to pull little jobs with his friends, but all
of them including Bigger wanted to pull off a big job, by
robbing Blum's store. They were afraid though, of getting
caught for robbing a white man. They know the police don't
care about blacks, and would probably accuse them of many
more crimes. Luckily for Bigger, though, the Relief Agency
did find him a job with the Daltons. When Bigger went to
the Daltons house for the first time, he brought his gun,
because it made him feel equal to the white people.
When Bigger got to the Daltons house, he didn't know
whether to enter the house by the front or back door. He
looks for a way to the back, and realizes the only way in
is through the front door. As he rang the doorbell, he felt
very disturbed. When he started talking to Mr. Dalton, Mr.
Dalton asked Bigger about his past crimes, which made
Bigger feel pressured. Then Mary Dalton walked in and asked
Bigger if he was in a union, if he knew about communism,
and then still more questions, until her father finally
asked her to leave the room. Bigger was afraid that this
little brat was going to get him to lose his job. Then he
met Peggy, a maid, who asked Bigger even more questions.
Finally, she showed Bigger the car he was to drive. When he
saw the black car, he thought about how the whites own
everything. When Bigger chauffeurs Miss Dalton to various
places, she talks to other people about him while he is
standing next to her, as if he were non-existing.
Richard Wright also shows how Bigger is caught up by forces
he could neither understand, or control. Bigger found a
sense of freedom and identity in acts of violence. Bigger
mainly disliked his family because he feels sorry for them,
and when Bigger picks on his friend, Gus, it is mainly out
of fear of robbing Mr. Plum.
When Bigger, Mary, and Jan get drunk, Bigger takes Mary
home and accidentally kills her while trying to shut her up
so her mom wouldn't know she was drunk. Then, after Mary is
dead, and her mom is gone, Bigger shoves Mary's Body in her
trunk, and carry's her downstairs. Then Bigger tries to
shove Mary's body in the furnace, but her head won't fit.
So, he takes the hatchet and cuts her head off, throwing
it, as well as her body, into the furnace.
After everyone found out Bigger had killed Mary, Bigger ran
to Bessie, his girlfriend's, house. When he arrived, he
ended up telling her everything that had happened. Bigger,
after telling Bessie everything, realizes that he can't
leave her alone with this knowledge and takes her with him
to an abandoned building. After a while, he sees that it
would be to difficult to keep going with Bessie' and
decides to kill her in order to keep her quiet and " keep
her off his back".
Richard Wright also showed us the social injustice blacks
ha to endure. When Bigger got caught by the police and was
jailed, he was constantly harassed. He was faced with a
choice of either confessing, or being lynched by a white
crowd, which shows the violence of whites towards blacks.
Throughout the trial there were acts of injustice. An
example of this was when Buckley, the man prosecuting
Bigger, told Bigger to reenact the murder. Additionally,
throughout the trial, there was name calling in the
newspapers, as well as in the courtroom, and nothing was
done about it..
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