The Dramatic Conflict Of Native Son Essay examples

The Dramatic Conflict Of Native Son Essay examples

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The dramatic conflict of Native Son (1940) takes place within the mind of the protagonist, Bigger Thomas. Born black and thereby subservient and unwanted in a white world of hostility, hatred and suspicion, Bigger’s total self-concept is governed by outside force that give him a feeling of inadequacy, incompleteness, and an eerie urge to seek that one thing in life that will make him present, that one thing that will give him mastery over his environment, that one thing will give him power to re-create society and thus himself. Bigger understands his impotence as the doing of white supremacist society and thus feels resentment against the white world that keeps him living. His hatred and desire to overthrow his white environment transmutes into sexual arousal when presented with a female body. Through Bigger’s conditioned hatred, the white and black female bodies bear the brunt of the violence precipitated by the race-class system. While his actions illuminate the violence that occurs when the white female body is seen as a symbol of inaccessible white power, it also makes clear that it is the black female body that suffers sexual violence and bears the burden of not being seen because of it.
The black beast rapist theory terrorized black man with the threat of lynching. It lessened the white fear that by having sexual relations with white women, black men were attempting to seize the patriarchal privileges and social power that society gave white men. While the white woman was cast as the desirable and unreachable symbol of power, the black women was easily accessible and symbolized the coarse black masses. The treat of being picked up on the streets by the police because of this theory dominates Bigger’s consciousness as he wal...


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...ing back images of himself running from the law, defying the white gaze, and defiling their symbol of inaccessible power, Bigger becomes excited. Consequently, the crushing of Bessie’s skull moves nothing in Bigger. Bessie’s rape and death at this moment is invisible to Bigger, he verifies her torment through the lens of the treasured white female body.
Protected by the black rapist myth, the white female body is a symbol of sexual desire and inaccessible white power. Bigger is filled with hatred, shame, frustration and resentment about his condition. His will to sexually possess the white woman substitutes for the desire to overthrow white supremacist society. His sexual desire, fed by the prized white female body and now rooted in political desire, makes the defilation of the black female body invisible and further hints at the devaluation of the female women.

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