Essay, Research Paper: Native Son

Book Reports

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Richard Wright is the author of the novel, Native Son. By writing the novel, he
wanted to awaken America to the realities of the relationship between blacks and
whites in the controversial 1930s. When he wrote this novel, it caused many
disputes among Americans. Many people thought that some of the issues Wright
included in his novel were not appropriate to write about. Richard Wright
believed that even the bad parts of America should be seen, though. This story
takes place in Chicago, Illinois in the late 1930s. The main character is Bigger
Thomas. He is a twenty year old black man who lives in a one-room apartment with
his mother, sister, and brother. The part of town they live in is infested with
crime, and most of the buildings are dilapidated. Bigger believes that he could
never get far in life because of his being an inferior black man in a
“white” world. Bigger wants to help support his family, so he decides to
apply for a job as a chauffeur. He is hired by a millionaire named Henry Dalton,
who allows Bigger to live in his house. Mr. Dalton and his wife, who is blind,
always try to help their employees succeed in life. Everything goes well for a
while until one night when Mr. Dalton’s teenage daughter, Mary, gets drunk.
Bigger carries Mary to her room after she falls down while climbing the stairs.
While Bigger is in Mary’s room, Mrs. Dalton comes to check in on her. Although
Mrs. Dalton wouldn’t be able to see Bigger in Mary’s room, he is afraid that
Mary might make a noise and Mrs. Dalton might think that he is raping her
daughter. In his terror, Bigger covers Mary’s face with a pillow and
accidentally smothers her. When Bigger sees that he killed Mary, he freaks out,
chops up her body with an ax, and hides it in the furnace downstairs. Although
he acts out of fear and doesn’t know what he is doing, Bigger still feels a
sense of control that he’s never felt before. Bigger leads everyone to believe
that Mary’s Communist friend, Jan, kidnapped her. Nobody suspects Bigger until
one day, when the remains of her body are found in the furnace. He gets his
girlfriend, Bessie, involved to help him get money and run away, but he kills
her to avoid betrayal. Bigger is finally caught by the police and put on trial.
During the course of the trial, he is amazed to find that Jan has forgiven him
for all that he did. He can’t believe that a white man actually treats him
like a human being. Bigger is convicted of murder and ultimately pays with his
life to learn that all humans are equal. I love this book! It shows the true
story of how hard it can be to live in a prejudiced society. This novel is full
of suspense and is really able to stir up controversies within oneself. I would definitely
recommend this book to people.

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