Native Son Essay

921 Words4 Pages
In Native Son, Bigger commits such a heinous crime that the entire city ridicules him. Although he is clearly despised by the general public in the story, the audience feels a connection with Bigger. At some points, the audience may feel disgust for him because of the crimes he committed, but at other times the audience feels empathy for him. This effect of juggling Bigger as a good guy or bad guy is purposely brought upon by the author, Richard Wright. Along with flipping around Bigger’s image, it flips the views of the audience on the characters that interact with Bigger, too. Wright brings the effect of having Bigger be both a protagonist and antagonist by telling the audience Bigger’s thoughts. A natural feeling is that since Bigger is the main character of the story, and because his feelings and thoughts are revealed, he should be the “good guy” of the story. This natural feeling is shown in the many thoughts that run through Bigger’s head over the course of his escape and internment. Also, the story follows Bigger, and at every moment of the book, Bigger is present. Because Bigger’s thoughts are focused on, his views influence our perception of what happens. It makes the reader feel as if he or she IS Bigger. An example of this is when Bigger is first taken to the inquest, and knocks out. Neither the reader nor Bigger knows what is going on, and when Bigger wakes up confused, the reader also “awakens” confused. With these methods, Wright lets the reader feel that what Bigger did was not in ill will, but the reader also struggles because they realize what Bigger did was extremely wrong. This is shown when Bigger acknowledges his wrongdoings, and also when he admits that he killed Mary and Bessie. Bigger says, “When I saw I couldn’t get the money, I killed her to keep her from talking.” (Wright 307) This could be a point where the audience
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