Native Son

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During the 1930s few Americans (whites in particular) were unaware of the side effects of racism on the black population in America.The constant barrage of racist propaganda and racial oppression that blacks like Bigger Thomas faced while growing up inexorably damaged them psychologically.In Bigger's case, he saw whites as wealthy and sophisticated beings while he and his poverty stricken family lived in a small, cramped apartment, with little possibility for education.Movies he saw rendered whites as civilized and prosperous people while blacks were depicted as jungle savages.This same wave of racism was not only detrimental to blacks, but whites as well in that it prevented them from realizing the inherent element of humanity within those groups that they oppressed.Most whites fell to racism and the sense of superiority that misled them to seeing blacks as sublevel humans.Throughout Native Son, Richard Wright presents to the reader not only the social but also the psychological effects of racism on both the oppressed and the oppressor.
The blacks' basic thoughts, at this point, were substantially flawed and damaged.Persistent pressure from the oppressor's racism forced blacks into a pressured and dangerous state of mind.Blacks were plagued with the hardship of economic oppression and forced to act obsequiously towards their white oppressors.As a result of their living conditions, Bigger's attitude toward whites becomes a combination of both anger and fear.Instead of seeing whites as people, Bigger conceives them as an overpowering and antagonistic force that he must push against in fear of his life.Accordingly, Bigger does not distinguish between individual whites; to him they are all the same, frightening and conniving.This fear, anger, and perception of the white population cause Bigger to feel absolutely no guilt after the accidental killing of Mary Dalton.In fact, Bigger

Native Son

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Any opinion I have on this book has to be based on Bigger Thomas. Various forces have shaped him. Forces that have changed the life completely for Bigger Thomas. In Native Son, Bigger Thomas seems to be composed of a mass of disruptive emotions rather than a rational mind joined by a soul. Bigger strives to find a place for himself, but the blindness he encounters in those around him and the bleak harshness of the Naturalistic society that Wright presents the reader with close him out as effectively as if they had shut a door in his face. Bigger is controlled by forces that he cannot fully understand. Bigger’s many acts of violence are, in effect, a quest for a soul. He desires an identity that is his alone. Both the white and the black communities have robbed him of dignity, identity, and individuality.
The human side of the city is closed to him, and for the most part Bigger relates more to the faceless mass of the buildings and the mute body of the city than to another human being. His mother’s philosophy of suffering to wait for a later reward is equally stagnating to Bigger it appears that she is weak and will not fight to live. Her religion is blindness but she needs to be blind in order to survive, to fit into a society that would drive a person mad. All of the characters that Bigger says are blind are living in darkness because the light is too painful. Bigger wants to break through that blindness, to discover something of worth in him. Just as Bigger later hides himself amidst the catacombs of the old buildings, many people hide themselves deep within their minds in order to bear the ordeal of life and the oppression of an uncaring society. But their blindness allows them something that Bigger cannot achieve. Bigger is isolated from every facet of human affection. Max tells the court that Bigger cannot kill because he himself is dead, and a person without empathy or