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Native Son

Essay by review  •  November 11, 2010  •  Essay  •  708 Words (3 Pages)  •  922 Views

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Native Son

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

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