In today’s society we live in a nation, which has abolished slavery, and the gap between the whites and the blacks during the early stages of America’s development has plainly carried into the present. In Native Son, author Richard Wright illustrates this racial gap, in addition to demonstrating how white oppression upon blacks is capable of producing revengeful individuals, not to mention being an immoral act in itself.
Bigger Thomas is one of those individuals, who discovers his capacity to rebel through acts of murder against the white society, which has for long oppressed his family, friends, and himself.
By tracing Bigger’s psyche from before the murder of Mary Dalton, into the third book of the novel, and into the subconscious depths of the final scene, the development of Bigger’s self realization becomes evident. Throughout the novel, Bigger commits murder twice and engages in other behavior that the reader is likely to find socially and morally unacceptable.
Yet one might argue that Bigger merely responded to the conditions in which he lived and which shaped him. If one advocates such a response, Bigger might be viewed as a sympathetic character. My position, with respect to this dilemma, is that Bigger has a way to control his actions and the actions he chose come with major consequences. Although Bigger had to conceal his slave mentality, Bigger should have rebelled against the bad route in his life and chose the good path, since nobody can serve his jail time but HIM.
An entire period of Bigger’s life, up until the murder of Mary Dalton, portrays him under a form of slavery, where the white society governs his state of being. While he worked for the Daltons, “his courage to live depended upon how successfully his fear was hidden from his consciousness”(44), and hate also builds on top of this fear. Once he is in contact with Mary, his fears and hate pour out in a rebellious act of murder, because to Bigger Mary symbolizes the white oppression.
In addition, he committed the act, “because it had made him feel free for the first time in his life”(255). At last he feels he is in control of his actions and mentality. He rebels against the burden of the white man’s torment. He had “been scared and mad all . . . [his] life”(328), until he killed Mary. After this, he was not scared of anyone, anymore. Thus, the murder of Mary Dalton serves as a turning point in Bigger’s life, for it breaks him free of subservience to anyone other…