Native Son Essay Research Paper In Native

Native Son Essay, Research Paper

In Native Son, by Richard Wright, the main character

is 20 year old Bigger Thomas. Growing up poor, uneducated,

and angry at the whole world, it is almost obvious that

Bigger is going to have a rough life. Anger, frustration,

and violence are habits for him. He is an experienced

criminal, and unable to handle with his wild mood swings,

Bigger often explodes in fits of crazy, aggressive outrage.

Bigger has grown up with the opinion that he simply has no

control over his life. In his mind, he can?t ever be

anything more than an unskilled, low-wage laborer. He is

forced to take a job as a chauffeur for the Daltons to avoid

having to watch his own family starve.

Strangely, Mr. Dalton is Bigger’s landlord; he owns

most of the company that manages the apartment building

where Bigger’s family lives. Mr. Dalton and other wealthy

real estate men are robbing the poor, black tenants on the

South Side. What they do is refuse to rent apartments in

other neighborhoods to black tenants. By doing this, they

create an fake housing shortage on the South Side, and that

causes high rents. Mr. Dalton likes to think of himself as a

generous man just because he gives money to black schools

and offers jobs to “poor, timid black boys” like Bigger.

However, his generosity is only a way for him to get rid of

the guilty conscience he has for cheating the poor black

residents of Chicago.

Mary Dalton, the daughter of Bigger’s Mr. Dalton,

angers Bigger when she ignores the “rules” of society when

it comes to relationships between white women and black men.

On his first day on the job, Bigger drives Mary out to meet

her boyfriend, Jan. One thing leads to another, and all

three of them get drunk. Mary is too drunk to make it to her

bedroom on her own, so Bigger helps her up the stairs. Just

as he places Mary on her bed, Mary’s blind mother, Mrs.

Dalton, enters the bedroom. Bigger is scared that Mary will

give away that he is in the room, so he covers her face with

a pillow and accidentally smothers her to death. Unaware

that Mary is dead, Mrs. Dalton prays and then leaves the

room. Bigger tries to cover his crime by burning Mary’s body

in the Daltons’ furnace. Then attempts to frame Jan for

Mary’s disappearance.

A comment by Bigger’s girlfriend, Bessie, gives him the

idea to try to collect ransom money from the Daltons. He

writes a ransom letter and signs it “Red,” then talks Bessie

into taking part in the whole plan. But, when Mary’s bones

are found in the furnace, Bigger and Bessie run away to an

empty building. Bigger is scared that he is going to get

caught because of Bessie, so he rapes her and then he beats

her to death with a brick. Everyone is after Bigger to try

to catch him and bring him to jail. He escapes the huge

manhunt as long as he can, but he is eventually captured

after a huge shoot-out. The press and the public decide his

guilt and his punishment before his trial even begins. All

the people just assume that Bigger raped Mary before killing

her and burned her body to hide the evidence. The white

authorities and mob use Bigger as an excuse to terrorize the

entire South Side neighborhood.

Jan is heartbroken over Mary’s death, but he finally

understands that he is partly guilty too. He realizes that

he was wrong to expect Bigger to act differently to him than

to any other white man. Jan also realizes that he violated

all of the “rules” that apply to race relations. And the

fact that he did that, angered and shamed Bigger. Jan gets

his friend, Boris A. Max, to defend Bigger for free. He

tries to save Bigger from the death penalty by arguing that

what Bigger did was an affect of the environment he was in.

Max warns the public that there will be more men like Bigger

if America does not put an end to the huge cycle of hate and

punishment. But, even after the trial, Bigger is sentenced

to death.



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