Native Son. byWright, Richard portal7.info: Wright, Richard portal7.info accessioned: Public Library of India. eBooks and Texts. Get this from a library! Native son. [Richard Wright] -- This novel addresses the issue of white American society's responsibility for the repression of blacks. by Richard Wright To read e-books on the BookShout App, download it on: . one would probably have to point to Wright and the publication of Native Son.
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Not in United States? Choose your country's store to see books available for download. Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the s, Richard Wright's powerful novel is an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America.
Dalton for a new job. Bigger's family depends on him. He would like to leave his responsibilities forever but when he thinks of what to do, he only sees a blank wall. He walks to the poolroom and meets his friend. Gusiffer R. Bigger tells him that every time he thinks about whites, he feels something terrible will happen to him.
They meet other friends, G. They are all afraid of attacking and stealing from a white man, but none of them wants to admit their concerns. Before the robbery, Bigger and Jack go to the movies.
They are attracted to the world of wealthy whites in the newsreel and feel strangely moved by the tom-toms and the primitive black people in the film, but they also feel that they are equal to those worlds.
After the cinema, Bigger returns to the poolroom and attacks Gus violently, forcing him to lick his blade in a demeaning way to hide his own cowardice. The fight ends any chance of the robbery occurring; Bigger is obscurely conscious that he has done this intentionally.
When he finally gets the job, Bigger does not know how to behave in the large and luxurious house. Dalton and his blind wife use strange words. They try to be kind to Bigger, but they actually make him very uncomfortable; Bigger does not know what they expect of him.
Then their daughter, Mary, enters the room, asks Bigger why he does not belong to a union, and calls her father a "capitalist. After the conversation, Peggy, an Irish cook, takes Bigger to his room and tells him that the Daltons are a nice family but that he must avoid Mary's communist friends. Bigger has never had a room for himself before. That night, he drives Mary around and meets her Communist boyfriend, Jan. Throughout the evening, Jan and Mary talk to Bigger, oblige him to take them to the diner where his friends are, invite him to sit at their table, and tell him to call them by their first names.
Bigger does not know how to respond to their requests and becomes very frustrated, as he is simply their chauffeur for the night. At the diner they download a bottle of rum. Bigger drives throughout the park, and Jan and Mary drink the rum and have sex in the back seat.
Jan and Mary part, but Mary is so drunk that Bigger has to carry her to her bedroom when they arrive home. He is terrified someone will see him with her in his arms; however, he cannot resist the temptation of the forbidden, and he kisses her.
Just then, the bedroom door opens, and Mrs. Dalton enters. Bigger knows she is blind but is terrified she will sense him there. He silences Mary by pressing a pillow into her face. Mary claws at Bigger's hands while Mrs. Dalton is in the room, trying to alert Bigger that she cannot breathe. Dalton approaches the bed, smells whiskey in the air, scolds her daughter, and leaves. As Bigger removes the pillow, he realizes that Mary has suffocated.
Bigger starts thinking frantically, and decides he will tell everyone that Jan, her Communist boyfriend, took Mary into the house that night. Thinking it will be better if Mary disappears and everyone thinks she has left Chicago, he decides in desperation to burn her body in the house's furnace.
Her body would not originally fit through the furnace opening, but after cutting off her head, Bigger finally manages to put the corpse inside. He adds extra coal to the furnace, leaves the corpse to burn, and goes home. Bigger's current girlfriend, Bessie, suspects him of having done something to Mary.
Bigger goes back to work. Dalton has called a private detective, Mr. Britten, interrogates Bigger accusingly, but Mr. Dalton vouches for Bigger. Bigger relates the events of the previous evening in a way calculated to throw suspicion on Jan, knowing Mr. Dalton dislikes Jan because he is a Communist. When Britten finds Jan, he puts the boy and Bigger in the same room and confronts them with their conflicting stories. Jan is surprised by Bigger's story but offers him help. Bigger storms away from the Daltons'.
He decides to write the false kidnap note when he discovers that the owner of the rat-infested flat his family rents is Mr. Bigger slips the note under the Daltons' front door and then returns to his room. When the Daltons receive the note, they contact the police, who take over the investigation from Britten, and journalists soon arrive at the house.
Bigger is afraid, but he does not want to leave. In the afternoon, he is ordered to take the ashes out of the furnace and make a new fire.
He is terrified and starts poking the ashes with the shovel until the whole room is full of smoke. Furious, one of the journalists takes the shovel and pushes Bigger aside. He immediately finds the remains of Mary's bones and an earring in the furnace, and Bigger flees. Bigger goes directly to Bessie and tells her the whole story. Bessie realizes that white people will think he raped the girl before killing her.
They leave together, but Bigger has to drag Bessie around because she is paralyzed by fear.
When they lie down together in an abandoned building, Bigger rapes Bessie and falls asleep. In the morning, he decides that he has to kill her in her sleep. He hits Bessie on the head with a brick before throwing her through a window and into an air shaft.
He quickly realizes that the only money he had was in her pocket. Bigger runs through the city. He sees newspaper headlines concerning the crime and overhears different conversations about it.
Whites hate him and blacks hate him because he brought shame on the black race. After a wild chase over the rooftops of the city, the police catch him. During his first few days in prison, Bigger does not eat, drink, or talk to anyone.
Then Jan comes to visit him. He says Bigger has taught him a lot about black-white relationships and offers him the help of a communist lawyer named Max. In the long hours Max and Bigger pass together, he starts understanding his relationships with his family and with the world.
He acknowledges his fury, his need for a future, and his wish for a meaningful life. He reconsiders his attitudes about white people, whether they are like Britten, or accepting like Jan. Bigger is found guilty and is sentenced to death for murder. Mary Dalton: An only child, Mary is a very rich white girl who has far leftist leanings. She is a Communist sympathizer recently understood to be frolicking with Jan, a known Communist party organizer. Consequently, she is trying to abide, for a time, by her parents' wishes and go to Detroit.
She is to leave the morning after Bigger is hired as the family chauffeur. Under the ruse of a University meeting, she has Bigger take her to meet Jan.
When they return to the house, she is too drunk to make it to her room unassisted and thus, Bigger helps her. Dalton comes upon them in the room and Bigger smothers her for fear that Mrs.
Dalton will discover him.
Although she dies earlier in the story, she remains a significant plot element, as Bigger constantly has flashbacks during stressful times, in which he sees various scenes from her murder. Henry Dalton: Father of Mary, he owns a controlling amount of stock in a real estate firm which maintains the black ghetto.
Blacks in the ghetto pay too much for rat-infested flats. As Max points out at the inquest, Mr. Dalton refuses to rent flats to black people outside of the designated ghetto area. He does this while donating money to the NAACP, downloading ping-pong tables for the local black youth outreach program, and giving people like Bigger a chance at employment.
Dalton's philanthropy, however, only shows off his wealth while backing up the business practices which contain an already oppressed people. An example of this is when the reader learns that Mr. Dalton owns the real estate company that controls a lot of the South Side where most of the black community lives , but instead of using his power to improve their situation, he does things such as donate ping pong tables to them, or hire individual blacks to work in his house.
Dalton is blind to the real plight of blacks in the ghetto, a plight that he maintains. Mary Dalton's mother. Her blindness serves to accentuate the motif of racial blindness throughout the story. Both Bigger and Max comment on how people are blind to the reality of race in America. Dalton betrays her metaphorical blindness when she meets Mrs. Dalton hides behind her philanthropy and claims there is nothing she can do for Bigger. Jan Erlone: Jan is a member of the Communist Party as well as the boyfriend of the very rich Mary Dalton.
Bigger attempts to frame him for the murder of Mary. Even though Bigger attempts to frame him, Jan uses this to try to prove that black people aren't masters of their own destinies, but rather, a product of an oppressive white society.
Jan had already been seeking for a way to understand the 'negro' so as to organize them along communist lines against the rich like Mr. He is not able to fully do so, but he is able to put aside his personal trauma and persuade Max to help Bigger. He represents the idealistic young Marxist who hopes to save the world through revolution. However, before he can do that, he must understand the 'negro' much more than he thinks he does.
Gus is a member of Bigger's gang, but he has an uneasy relationship with Bigger. Both are aware of the other's nervous anxiety concerning whites. Consequently, Bigger would rather brutalize Gus than admit he is scared to rob a white man.
Jack Harding: Jack is a member of Bigger's gang and perhaps the only one Bigger ever views as a real friend. He is the neutral member of the gang who will do what the gang does, but will not be too closely attached to any one member of the gang. Boris Max: A lawyer from the Communist Party who represents Bigger against the State's prosecuting attorney. As a Jewish American, he is in a better position to understand Bigger.
It is through his speech during the trial that Wright reveals the greater moral and political implications of Bigger Thomas's life. Even though Mr. Max is the only one who understands Bigger, Bigger still horrifies him by displaying just how damaged white society has made him.
When Mr. Max finally leaves Bigger he is aghast at the extent of the brutality of racism in America. The third part of the novel called Fate seems to focus on his relationship with Bigger, and because of this Max becomes the main character of Fate. Bessie Mears: She is Bigger's casual sex partner. She drinks often, saying she is trying to forget her hard life.
At the end of Book 2, Bigger takes and rapes her in an abandoned building, then proceeds to kill her in haste to keep her from talking to the police. This is his second murder in the book. Peggy is the Irish-American housekeeper for the Daltons and, like Max, can empathize with Bigger's status as an "outsider.
Peggy hides her dislike for blacks and treats Bigger nicely. Bigger Thomas: The protagonist of the novel, Bigger commits two ghastly crimes and is put on trial for his life. He is convicted and sentenced to the electric chair. His acts give the novel action but the real plot involves Bigger's reactions to his environment and his crime.
Through it all, Bigger struggles to discuss his feelings, but he can neither find the words to fully express himself nor does he have the time to say them. However, as they have been related through the narration, Bigger—typical of the "outsider" archetype—has finally discovered the only important and real thing: On the other hand, Mary, the daughter, did not really understand that her being overly friendly to Bigger, or inviting him to eat with her, was actually making him uncomfortable and could cause serious repercussions for him.
In her privileged position she failed to have much empathy or understanding for Bigger. The psychological aspects of race and poverty is not something they understood, coming from privileged backgrounds. There was the lack of privacy the poor had, the fact that their lives were so clearly on display and that they had little to no control over their lives that made Jan and Mary's actions particularly degrading. To be honest, this book scared me.
As long as he and his black folks did not go beyond certain limits, there was no need to fear that white force. But whether they feared it or not, each and every day of their lives they lived with it; even when words did not sound its name, they acknowledged its reality. As long as they lived here in this prescribed corner of the city, they paid mute tribute to it. It scared me that the coloured body can be exploited, even in death.
I just work. And to make matters even worse, in death her body is exploited.