Analysis of Bigger Thomas in Native Son by Richard Wright

Good Essays
Between the 1930’s and 1940’s there has been racial prejudice against African Americans. They were immediately put down and racially profiled. Being different from the White people prevented them from living freely. They were socially led to live a failed lifestyle because racial and economic forces shaped and provoked African Americans such as Bigger to live to the stereotype. Wright puts Bigger in a brutal, hostile social environment which not only depicts Bigger Thomas, but also puts a critical/harsh eye on the White community. Richard Wright displays in his novel, Native Son, that the protagonist, Bigger, is a monstrous symbol of what can happen if society refuses to make freedom and opportunity available to all people.
Violence, poverty, and racism were inevitable and the determining factors for people, especially Bigger during the 40’s. Bigger Thomas was “damaged by racism and poverty” (Himes) He has no way out of the walls of poverty and racism that surround him, and after he murders a young white woman in a moment of panic, these walls begin to close in on him. The “violence is gratuitous and compulsive because the root of violence is never examined. The root is rage.” (Butler) Thus examines that violence is irresistible and compelling to Bigger because he has so much reason to hate the white community. His rage compelled him to act upon his feelings, and kill people. This only made the reality of his crime worse. Bigger now has to face the consequences of reality. He becomes “The total embodiment of that society’s hatred, prejudices and resentments against the Black men.” (Amis) Although black people were already despised throughout the book, Bigger has given them another reason to look down upon the Black community. E...

... middle of paper ...

...tify his wrongful doings. Wherever one turns, “it is ultimately because of the racism of the white world that Bigger kills.” (Gallegher) In terms of the essential, Bigger is a victim of his own environment: the killing is an accident and Bigger is innocent. These such forces have impacted his life dramatically so we see the effect it has on him. These impacts include him not having enough money to support his family, and him not becoming what he dreams of; an aviator. These all are “economic and racial forces he can’t control.” (Butler) Himes gave us another perception to look at. He says that Wright writes the book so that in order to “prevent us from feeling pity for Bigger, he forced us to confront the hopelessness, misery and injustice of the society that gave birth to him” (Himes) What can we do now but to blame the transgressors, which is the community itself.
Get Access