“Native Son” by Richard Wright

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In “Native Son” by Richard Wright, we are shown the brutal truths that lie in Bigger Thomas’s life. Within the short time frame of just a few days we see how Bigger’s life has been turned upside down. We are also shown the social injustices, racial biases and discriminations his society holds against people of color. In turn, this takes part in shaping the person he has become throughout the book. Bigger Thomas was always seen as a troublemaker, but even viewed like this he was a lazy one at best. Bigger’s family was knee deep in poverty and struggling to get by, which made his mother push him to help out. He always took the easy way out and somehow ended up getting a job for one of the most richest families in Chicago, the Daltons.

Slowly but surely Bigger starts to spiral out of control, creating a deeper and deeper grave for himself from the actions he commits toward the Daltons and others. Native Son is an active representation of how our current-day society and past society can create some of the worst criminals in history with the variation of multiple aspects like racial issues, pressure from society and peer relationships.

Native Son is an accurate representation of racial hatred and guilt. It is shown through Bigger’s daily life experiences and challenges he was faced with. In the first book of “Native Son” ~ Fear, is when Wright really shows his audience the fear and hatred Bigger deals with constantly. In “Native Son” Bigger says to himself “Suppose a police saw him wandering in a white neighborhood like this? It would be thought that he was trying to rob or rape somebody… He could have stayed among his own people and escaped feeling this fear and hate,” (Wright 44). In this scene Bigger is on his way to the Dalton’s house, for a job interview. He begins to question what people in the neighborhood will think about when they see an African American like him just casually walking around.

This quote shows us how Bigger is insecure and intimidated when it comes to white folks, and the consequences he might face just for being black. By Bigger specifically saying “It would be thought that he was trying to rob or rape somebody,” (Wright 44) it shows us how in Bigger’s society the way they view people of color is that, just from being black, they would automatically labelled him as a robber or rapist because of the color of his skin. This proves how it’s an accurate representation of the racial hatred and guilt mentioned before because in our current society, people of color are still often being judged because of the color of their skin. Which then causes them to face similar situations like the one Bigger describes above. So in other words, it is reliable in it’s description of racial hatred and guilt people of color face in the past and in the present, because they are continuing to be discriminated against.

Even though in our current society and culture there is still the presence of racism, the racial relationships that the book describes from the past, is very different from present day racial relationships. Through the separation of the whites and the blacks in “Native Son” we are able to distinguish the difference between the racial relationships in the book and in our current culture /society. In the book Bigger states “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,” (Wright 20). In this quote Bigger is speaking to Gus about the racial injustices that all blacks face in the reference to the separation they all go through from the whites.

By Bigger saying “We live here and they live there,” (Wright 20) it shows the audience the comparison of how in the past society, blacks and whites were separated in various ways that limit the blacks ability to have any form of freedom or progression. Which proves how our current culture and society racial relationships are different and are an improvement to racial relationships of the past. Since now blacks and whites can live in the same places and even have direct relationships with each other, like creating families together, going to school together and even working together. Even though are still some rough patches in our current society with racism and discrimination in general, it is a major improvement in comparison to the past.

In our current society there has been many debates whether a person like Bigger Thomas could still exist, but to various beliefs it is said otherwise. Many things go into consideration when thinking of this particular topic. Bigger Thomas was out of control and thought irrationally. He had no control of his impulses, and this worsened because of the society he lived in. However, in our current society, even though there are cases similar to the acts Bigger committed in the book, I don’t believe some like him could exist. In the book Bigger says to himself “He was living, truly and deeply, no matter what others might think, looking at him with their blind eyes.

Never had he had the chance to live out the consequences of his actions; never had his will been so free as in this night and day of fear and murder and flight,” (Wright 239). In this specific scene Bigger has just finished committing the murder and rape of Bessie. He starts to visualize the events that have happened in the past two days of his life and he feels as if the actions he has committed were finally something in his control. By the Bigger saying “Never had he had the chance to live out the consequences of his actions; never had his will been so free as in this night and day of fear and murder and flight,” it shows the audience how because of the society Bigger lived in, and the amount of control and racial injustices he was faced with, he never had the freedom to do as he pleased. To him it felt like he never had control of his own life and fate.

This proves how the society Bigger lived in, controlled the way he came out to be. This also proves how a Bigger Thomas, like this could never exist in our current society because there isn’t as much control on people of color like there was in the past. Now they are able to pick what they want to do with their lives. Now they have more options. Again as stated previously, our society and culture isn’t perfect. There are still strands of racism present, just look at our president for an example, but it isn’t has horrendous as it was before. Now there is a bit more of freedom and liberation.

Culture and society matter immensely when it comes to a person, it affects the outcome of the person and the amount of pressure they will have to endure throughout their life. Through the book “Native Son” we are able to distinguish the differences between the past and our present culture. It enables us to be aware of how much of an improvement the way of living for people of color has been. Even though it is an improvement, it goes to show how much better our society would have been if we had stopped the discrimination early on. “Native Son” brings up many key points that are still somewhat present in our society and culture which range from societal issues, racism and certain relationships. So even if it wasn’t an accurate representation of our current society, it still contained certain truths of the past, which made it capable of opening its audience eyes and creating a comparison of two different time periods in history.

Cite this paper

“Native Son” by Richard Wright. (2021, Nov 24). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/native-son-by-richard-wright/

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