Essay Native Son Reading Assignment

Submitted By natemoore28
Words: 984
Pages: 4

Nate Moore

Period 2

Mr. Mladinich

Native Son Reading Assignment

“Native Son” by Richard Wright is a book about a 21 year old African American man named Bigger Thomas who lives with his mother, brother, and sister. The book begins at the family’s apartment filled with chaos. Bigger is trying to kill a rat that has been terrorizing the house for a while. Bigger successfully kills the rat and is very proud of his deed. Showing off his prize to his frightened family, he playfully shoves the rat in his sister’s face so she consequently passes out. This upsets Bigger’s mother and she scolds Bigger for his behavior. She chastises him for not supporting their family and hanging with the wrong crowd. Bigger responds harshly, stating how he hates his family because of the conditions they live in each day. In a rage, Bigger leaves to go hang out with his friends. When he arrives, he greets them with a plan to rob a white man’s liquor store and his friends agree to go through with the robbery later on that day. However, he spoils the plan to rob the bank because of his fear of white people in general. Later, he goes to get a job as a chauffeur from a rich white man named Mr. Dalton. Mr. Dalton was a supporter of blacks and donated money to the urban communities very generously. Bigger was able to receive the job and started working the same day. First he drove Mr. Dalton’s daughter, Mary, to meet her communist boyfriend, Jan. When Bigger and Mary picked up Jan, Mary and Jan began to convince Bigger that they were unlike most white people. They tried to force Bigger to accept them as friends and not enemies. Bigger did not like the way they were treating him and felt humiliated by their actions even though they were being genuinely nice to him. As the night wore on, the three began to get drunk which allowed them to have more fun with one another. Nevertheless, Bigger was still wary of them and still didn’t trust them and their tactics. Eventually Bigger drove them back to the Dalton house where Mary passed out from her drunkard state. Jan decided it would be best to take a taxi home and not come into the Dalton residence because their household did not approve of him and his communist beliefs. So Bigger took Mary up to her room and began to have sexual feelings toward Mary as he kissed while she was half conscious. When he got to her room, her mother came in to check on her. Mrs. Dalton was blind but could smell the alcohol on Mary from the doorway. Bigger became afraid Mrs. Dalton would hear Mary groaning so he quickly stuffed a pillow over her face, accidently smothering her to death. Mrs. Dalton was unaware of this and actually prayed for her daughter’s health as she was being smothered. When Mrs. Dalton left, Bigger realized what he had done and tried to hide Mary’s body in the furnace. He stuffed her body in there unsuccessfully at first, but then chopped her head off with an ax to make room for her body to fit. To deflect suspicion from himself, he decided to act like a stereotypical black servant boy that was timid and afraid of white people. In addition, he decided to aim the suspicion at Jan by writing a ransom note to the family signed “Red,” which is another name for the Communist Party. All goes well until a group of news reporters found Mary’s bones in the furnace, forcing Bigger to escape the scene and flee to his girlfriend Bessie’s house. He plans to hide out in abandoned urban apartment buildings until he can flee the city. Once he tells her this, she becomes hysterical and enraged