Bigger's Native Son

Decent Essays
“He shut their voices out of his mind. He hated his family because he knew that they were suffering and that he was powerless to help them. He knew the moment he allowed himself to feel to its fullness how they live, the shame and misery of their lives, he would be swept out of himself with fear and despair” (Wright 13).
Bigger hates his family because of their poverty and suffering and because he feels there is nothing he can do to help them. He believes that he cannot afford to let himself feel their shame and misery too strongly without also feeling the urge to kill himself or someone else. He has cultivated a façade of outer toughness to protect himself from the unbearable pressure he feels as a result of his family’s social position. His
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Bigger’s mom and Vera spot a rat, and Bigger kills it with a frying pan. Then, Bigger meets up with his gang to plan to rob a white man, but the fear of retaliation causes them to back out. Later, Bigger goes to an interview at the Daltons’. Mr. Dalton tells Bigger he is to be a chauffeur for the Dalton family. Bigger drives Mary to university that evening, but she instead says she wants to meet with her friend Jan; Jan and Mary have dinner with Bigger, and though they wish to be nice to him, they only embarrass him with their kindness. Bigger drops of Jan and brings Mary back home. Bigger carries Mary, who is drunk, upstairs and puts her to bed. While he is in her room, Mrs. Dalton, who is blind, comes in, smells alcohol, and believes that Mary is intoxicated again. Bigger puts a pillow over Mary’s face to keep her from saying that Bigger is in the room. Once Mrs. Dalton leaves Bigger realizes that he has accidentally killed Mary. Bigger takes her body downstairs, burns it in the furnace, and goes home. The next day, Bigger goes back to the Dalton house to develop an alibi. Bigger realizes it is most feasible that Jan is the murderer, so Bigger begins to tell the Daltons and Peggy that Jan stayed late at the house the previous night. Mr. Dalton calls Britten, a private investigator, to ask Bigger questions, and Britten…show more content…
Bigger also meets with a preacher, who asks Bigger to pray for his own soul. Buckley takes down Bigger’s confession, which Bigger signs, and after Bigger sees a burning cross in Chicago, set up by the KKK, he tells the preacher that Christianity has no use for him. Max interviews Bigger, asking about the circumstances of his life, although Buckley demands the death penalty, Max claims that Bigger’s upbringing, and the difficult living conditions of African Americans in Chicago should persuade the jury to give Bigger only life in prison. However the jury decides that Bigger will be executed, and Max’s appeal to the Governor of the state fails. The final scene of the novel, between Max and Bigger, shows Bigger thanking Max for listening to him, earlier, although Max is shocked that Bigger is still largely unrepentant for his crimes. Bigger tells Max goodbye, and, as the novel ends, asks Max also to tell Jan “goodbye” from him as
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