Native Son

Native Son

Well guys welcome back to blog! As you guys seen last time, I have completed the novel Native Son. Richard Wright did an incredible job creating Bigger Thomas as a product of society. Now that I have finished the novel, I will talk to you guys about the novel Native Son as a whole.

Richard Wright creates a story with the rising problem of racism and poverty in America, which are themes that has polluted our history. Everyday we see something new dealing with these two topics across headlines of newspapers and social media. These two topics are made to seem unimportant and ineffaceable, but we know they are not.

Wright does a good job merging his narrative voice into Bigger. By doing this, readers can feel how racism affects the thoughts, feelings, self-image, and life of a African-American. He has made Bigger a product of American imperialism. He is mankind’s greatest tragedy. The mass oppression that filters through all aspects of the lives of the oppressed and the oppressor. Because of this, this creates a world of misunderstanding and suffering. The novel is filled with an abundant amount of imagery of the hostile white world. Richard Wright shows how Bigger’s feelings, behavior, and thoughts is affected by the whites.

“Every time I think about it I feel like somebody’s poking a red-hot iron down my throat…We live here and they live there. We black and they white. They got things and we ain’t. They do things and we can’t…I feel like I’m on the outside the world peeping in through a knot-hole in the fence…”

Bigger feels constricted by the world around him. He feels like he cannot do anything and it’s all because of the white world. Bigger knows something awful will eventually happen and it’s inevitable.

Now we ask ourselves how does this relate to our world today. Well what is racism exactly? Racism is the belief that characteristics and abilities can be attributed to people based on their race and that some races are held to be superior than others. Because of this, racism and discrimination have been used as powerful weapons that encourage fear or hatred of others in times of conflict.

Racism is like a cancer. It spreads throughout society causing pain and even death. We see examples of racism in our everyday life. Some examples are the Trayvon Martin story, the Texas Shooting, and the Colin Kaepernick scandal.

All three events have affected society one by one. In all three incidents someone’s life was either taken or greatly impacted. In the Trayvon Martin case, we see a young African-American boy get fatally shot because of racial profiling. This relates to the book because though Bigger did kill Mary, they automatically thought it was due to him raping her. They assume this because he’s black. They choose to believe that all blacks are wasteful human beings that don’t bring anything but trouble. The Texas shooting gunman’s reasoning has yet to be declared, but we all know it was because of the hatred he held towards African-Americans. In the story, Buckley is the character who comes to mind when I try to relate this tragic event to the novel. He was a character who disliked blacks. He tried to convict Bigger of crimes in he did not commit in order to trial him for Mary’s murder. Colin Kaepernick was a man who willingly refused to stand for the national anthem. When asked why, Kaepernick says he did it for the wrongdoings held against African-Americans and minorities in the United States. By doing this, Kaepernick reminds me of Max, which is Bigger’s attorney. Like Max, Kaepernick stood up for what he believed in though it deemed not right. He also faced social backlash from the people who did not approve of his decisions just like Max when he took Bigger’s case.

All in all, the novel Native Son really was an insight to a recurring problem in the United States. Bigger strived to find a place in the world around him. The harshness of the naturalistic society Wright writes him keeps him from doing so. In book one, Wright writes, “these were the rhythms of his life: indifference and violence; periods of abstract brooding and periods of intense desire; moments of anger…..like water ebbing and flowing from the tug of a far-away, invisible force.” Richard Wright showed us that Bigger is controlled by the forces he cannot understand. Society is bearing down on him and Bigger feels like he cannot throw off the weight of oppression and misunderstanding. We know understands as readers that Bigger’s acts of violence in his crimes are, in effect, a quest for a soul. He longs for an identity this is solely his. The white community as well as the black community has taken his identity, individuality, and dignity away from him. With this, Richard Wright has created an incredible novel.

We are now at the end of this road. Thank you guys for coming on this journey to explore the novel Native Son with me. It truly made me dig deeper in order to fully understand what was going on. I hope my blog leads you guys to read and explore your own ideas of the novel, and to anyone who is questioning whether or not to read it, I truly encourage you to do so. Until next time! See ya!

The End of All Ends

The End of All Ends

Hey y’all! Welcome back to my blog! Well guys, we have reached the end of the novel Native Son. I cannot believe I have finished reading. This book has kept me on my toes from Book One: Fear to Book Three: Fate. Thank you for coming along with me on this crazy ride of a book. Shall we jump right in? Let’s Go!

As I reached the ending of Book Three: Fate, we see Max try to fight for Bigger’s life. When Max and Bigger are inside the cell, Max gets Bigger to look at Chicago’s skyline and when he does, Max states that these buildings are not “held together just by stone and steel, but by the belief of men.” Throughout the ending of Book Three: Fate, Max tries to convince Bigger not to lose faith in his freedom. He tries to convey that whites are afraid of men like Bigger who have belief in what they can do. He wants Bigger know that there is life outside of the prison walls. Max sees Bigger as someone who does not know who they are, and he wants to change that in some way.

When Max is done making Bigger’s case to the judge and the jury, the jury as an hour to make their verdict. At this point, Bigger knows nothing is standing between him and death. He knows it’s only a matter of time till he knows his fate. Bigger does not know if he has accepted is his fate, but he does understand that though he may have not accepted it, there is nothing he can do to change it. Max realizes this about Bigger, and he is truly upset that there is nothing more he can do for Bigger. Inevitably, the jury sentences Bigger to death. After the decision is made, Bigger resigns himself in his own execution.

In the end, the novel ends on a ambiguous note. When Max is beginning to leave Bigger’s cell, Bigger notes that though he does not know why he killed, he does know it made him feel powerful and free. Max is stunned by this remark. Max has no more to say to Bigger but goodbye. Though Max truly tried his best to fight for Bigger, he does not know if Bigger will repent for his crimes. He knows Bigger’s death by execution is no way justifiable, but he also knows Bigger will probably never admit to the immorality of the crimes he has committed. The novel ends with the statement, “He still held on to the bars. Then he smiled a faint, wry, bitter smile. He heard the ring of steel against steel as a far door clanged shut.” By ending like this, readers can make their own interpretations. I have not yet decided whether Bigger really deserves to die. Though he committed two immoral crimes, we cannot ignore the fact that he is what society made him to be. Everything society believed him to be, he became it. They made him a killer. We as readers cannot change this about Bigger. Richard Wright has done a great job in conveying Bigger as a tragic figure made by society. Tune into my next post to understand the full meaning behind the novel Native Son.

All Things Come to an End…Maybe?

Hey Guys! Welcome back to my blog! We are now towards the end of the novel Native Son, and it’s been one crazy ride, but there’s still more to uncover. We last left off with Bigger making the decision to sign the confession or not.

We pick up the next day when Bigger is taken to the inquest. When the inquest begins, Mrs. Dalton is the first to stand. She explains her family’s part in trying to help out African-Americans with their $5 million charity. The coroner then calls Jan to stand. The condemning manner of the coroner tries to put Jan’s communist ways at fault for Mary’s death. He argues that Jan intendely gave Mary to Bigger. Jan does not stand for this. He stands up for himself against the coroner. As the inquest continues, Max, Bigger’s attorney, calls Mr. Dalton to the stand next. Mr. Dalton tells the jury how he has hired African-American boys due them being “handicapped by poverty, having a lack of education, a misfortune, or bodily injury.” He does not see them as equals but has charity and nothing more. Max highlights how the Dalton Real Estate Company owns the stock of the company that owns the building in which the Thomas family lives in. Max then sheds light on how the company charges more to African-American families for rent than they do whites. When asked why he has not felt the need to change it, Mr. Dalton responds by saying, “Well, it’s an old custom.” This is what’s wrong with the world today. People are not willing change the past. They want to keep things the same as if it’s is morally right.

As Max makes his case, the coroner does something unexpectedly. He brings in the body of Bessie as evidence. This infuriates Bigger. Bigger knows that although he killed Bessie, she would not want her body as a public display for everyone to see. This his kinda crazy seeming how he throws her body out a window to found anyone. Though they use Bessie as evidence, Bigger knows that this is all they consider Bessie to be. They could care less about an African-American women being killed. After the coroner makes his case, the jury retires to the next room to make their decision. Inevitably, Bigger is charged with murder and returned to jail until he is tried and executed. When Bigger is taken back into custody, a mob begins to chant “burn that black ape,” and “give ‘em what he gave that girl.”

While thinking he is on his way back to jail, Bigger notices that they are actually going towards the Dalton’s home. When they arrive, they bring Bigger into Mary’s room. Here, Bigger is expected to demonstrate how he committed his crime. Bigger refuses. He gains the power to say, “you can’t make me do nothing but die.” As he said this, Bigger wished they would have shot him right there so he could be free from all this agony. Bigger is lead out in handcuffs to be taken back to jail. On the way back, Bigger notices a flaming cross on the top of the building across the street. As he gaze upon the flaming cross, Bigger remembers the reverend’s speech. Bigger soon realizes this is not the cross of Christ but the cross of the Ku Klux Klan….

Tune in next time to see what will happen!

What’s Next for Bigger?

Hey Guys! Welcome back to my blog! As I’m starting to reach the end of the novel, I can honestly say this book has kept me on my toes. When I last talked to you guys about book three I left off with everyone in Bigger’s room.

As I continued to read, I notice Bigger is being bombarded by everyone at one time. Jan’s generosity at first is unbelievable to Bigger, but as the story continues Jan proves to perhaps know what Bigger is going through. He spills to everyone in the cell that Bigger has been wronged by society and that he needs someone in his corner. Jan assures Bigger that attorney Max will explain to the jury why he was pushed to do this fortunate crime.

Max, in my eyes, is a person who wants to assure Bigger has the most humane treatment going forward. Though he wants this for Bigger, he doesn’t excuse Bigger’s actions.

Bigger’s mother soon speaks and begs Bigger to pray and confess his sins. She blames herself for Bigger’s actions. As she is leaving, she gets down on her knees and begs Mrs. Dalton to have pity on her son. Bigger is infuriated by this. He wants to rush to his mother and pick her up but he knows he can’t. She pleads with both Mr. and Mrs. Dalton to not evict them from their apartment. Though Mrs. Dalton assures Ms. Thomas that she can not help Bigger anyway, she tells Ms. Thomas that they will not evict them from the apartment.

After this, everyone leaves Bigger’s cell but Buckley. Unlike Jan and Max, Buckley is unwilling to help anyone in the African American community. He wants to intimidate Bigger. Buckley wants Bigger to confess, or he assures Bigger that he cannot keep Bigger safe from the mob outside if the court does not get justice. This is not true. Buckley does not have obligations to the mob outside the jail, but he does have an obligation to the law. At this point, Bigger is at his lowest. He feels Buckley is telling truth, but he knows it’s not right. In order to convince Bigger to confess, Buckley tries to tie Bigger to unsolved crimes. He is trying to scare Bigger into confession. Buckley tells him that he has the evidence and the witnesses to prove Bigger is the attacker. Now, Bigger is left with the decision to confess or stay silent.

Which one will he do? What will happen now? These are the two questions I will answer next time. Hope you guys tune in to see how this ends!

Who is Bigger Thomas?

Who is Bigger Thomas?

Hey guys welcome back to my blog! Today I will be taking a break from the novel to talk a little about Bigger. Bigger, as you guys know, is the main character of Native Son. We have seen Bigger develop in many ways throughout the book so far. I hope this post will give you insight on who Bigger Thomas truly is.

Bigger represents a uneducated, poor black man. Richard Wright has wrote Bigger to live in a time where racism is a recurring day to day thing. Wright has molded Bigger to convey someone who defied white society and whom inevitably ended up in self-destruction. Bigger represents society as a whole. He represents every black man in the world, who gets mistreated because of their color. Some suggest his name is a mixture of “big” and “nigger.” All his life, Bigger has felt trapped. The growing resentment and hatred toward whites controls most of his life. He feels as if white people are only here to overpower blacks and tell them how to live, where to live, and what to do.

While reading this novel, we ask ourselves what lead Bigger to commit the crimes he did. Well I can infer that since Bigger’s life has been dominated by the fear and hatred toward whites, that perhaps this is what lead him to do the things he has done. Bigger is ashamed of his ignorance and poverty. He feels as though his life is unmeaningful. Bigger believes that the only thing he’s good at is performing low-wage jobs.

At the end of book one, Bigger kills Mary Dalton. Scared of getting caught in Mary’s room by her mother, Bigger accidentally smothers Mary. This is when we see the first change in Bigger. It showed me that Bigger has absolutely no control over his life. Racism has completely destroyed him. The brutality of the actions after he realizes he killed Mary shows how much anger Bigger has built up inside. Bigger becomes alive after this part of the novel. He feels a rush when trying keep and get away with his crime. He loves knowing that this incident is somewhat a retaliation against whites.

As the novel continues, Mary’s body is found and Bigger has killed again while on the run from police. Bigger knows that now no one is in control of him. Bigger’s new found identity and purpose soon comes to an end when he is captured by police at the end of book two. Bigger is now starting to resent his decisions. He wishes that they will already kill him to put him out of his misery. He truly feels like is life doesn’t matter anymore. As I continue to read the novel, I know there is so much more to learn about Bigger.

Fate?

Hey Y’all! Welcome back to my blog! Last time you guys tuned in, you learned that Mary’s body has been found and the police is looking for Bigger. Bigger is on the run with Bessie until he murders her in her sleep. Book two ends with Bigger being caught by police.

Book three part one opens up with Bigger in the Eleventh Street Police Station. We learn that Bigger has not spoken nor has he eaten. “He had reached out and killed and had not solved anything, so why not reach inward and kill that which duped him?” By reading this, I can infer that Bigger is contemplating killing himself. I can’t feel empathy for him at this point. He put himself in this position. After this, Bigger decides that he is a man with unlucky fate. He knows his time is about to come to an end sooner or later.

As policemen take Bigger to his inquest, he notice that he is surrounded by a crowd. In this crowd, he sees Mr. and Mrs. Dalton and Jan sitting in front of him. Bigger’s feelings of shame begin to overpower him. Due to this, he faints. He struggles in and out of consciousness. He is finally awaken by voice who asks him if he wants something to eat. Bigger begins to wish he were already in the electric chair.

Bigger soon asks for a newspaper. In this, he is written as a black “ape” and a “jungle beast.” When he spread out the Tribune, he sees “Negro Rapist Faints at Inquest.” Words like these truly bothers me. They assume the worst about blacks during this time. They assume that Bigger raped Mary and that’s his reasoning of killing her. They don’t know the truth.

While behind bars, Bigger is visited by his mother’s minister, Reverend Hammond. He’s there due to his mother’s request. Reverend Hammond is there to urge Bigger to “turn to Jesus.” He’s mission to help Bigger failed. As the Reverend leaves, Bigger gets a shocking visitor. It’s Jan. Stunned by this, Bigger wonders what he could possibly want from him.

In all surprise, Jan is there to tell Bigger he is not angry at him. He tells Bigger that though he does not understand his emotions and motives behind every thing, he does understand that Bigger is reacting to his social condition. Jan wants Bigger to let him help him through this situation. Jan tells Bigger he has a lawyer who is willing to work for free.

Soon after, Bigger is visited by Mr. and Mrs. Dalton and state attorney Buckley. Buckley tries to convince Bigger that there is no need for any tactics. Mr. Dalton hints that it would be “easier” if Bigger reveals everything he knows and if he reveal his accomplices. Infuriated by this, Jan argues with Mr. Dalton stating that Bigger’s crime testifies to a “fundamental” problem in America.

As the tensions boil, new visitors arrive in Bigger’s cell. Now Bigger is surrounded by his mother, brother, sister,friends and everyone else who was already in the room. As the reader, I can now ask: What now? Guess we will see in my next blog post.

What Now?

Hey guys! Welcome back to another blog by yours truly! We are now at the end of book two. Wow, what a crazy ride so far. As a reader, I can honestly say book one and two has kept me on toes. I can only imagine what book three will hold.

“There was something he knew and something he felt; something the world gave him and something he himself had……never in all his life, with this black skin of his, had the two worlds, thought and feeling, will and mind, aspiration and satisfaction, been together; never had he felt a sense of wholeness.”

This quote from book two stuck out the most for me. It really gave me an insight on who Bigger was. In the beginning of the novel Native Son, Richard Wright describes Bigger hiding behind a “wall” to keep his situation from overpowering him.

During book two, we see Bigger’s world slowly crash around him. From the discovery of Mary’s body in the furnace to Bigger’s capture at the end, Wright leaves readers to wonder how the rest of the novel will play out. We see Bigger starting to become more isolated as the book continues. When Mary’s body is found, Bigger instantly makes a run for it. He finds himself at Bessie’s doorstep. While pacing back and forth telling Bessie they have to leave at once, Bigger is trying to figure out his next move. Soon Bigger and Bessie find themselves hiding out in a abandon building, where Bigger will kill Bessie in her sleep. Yes, you heard it right. Bigger is now on his second murder.

After the murder of Bessie, Bigger tries to figure out how to escape from Chicago with everyone looking for him. At this point, Bigger’s mind is split every which way. He no longer knows how to interact with people around him nor does he understand himself.

Throughout the novel so far, Bigger has been trying to feel whole with his life. It’s really pitiful that he does not feel whole until he murders two women. Even though he could possibly be executed for these two gruesome crimes, Bigger feels like his life has finally found a purpose. He is excited but also tormented the reason. Bigger knows he has little time left to live.

As book two comes to a close, Bigger is finally captured by the police. He is dragged out the abandoned building he has been hiding in. The novel states that two men will stretch his arms out, as though they are about to crucify him.

“His eyes closed, slowly, and he was swallowed in darkness.” This is the last sentence of book two. I hope you guys find yourselves back here to see what happens next. See ya!