Sympathy in Richard Wright's Native Son

The Free essays given on our site were donated by anonymous users and should not be viewed as samples of our custom writing service. You are welcome to use them to inspire yourself for writing your own term paper. If you need a custom term paper related to the subject of Cliff Notes or Sympathy in Richard Wright's Native Son, you can hire a professional writer here in just a few clicks.
Click Here For Research Papers Online! English Sympathy in Wright's Native Son In Native Son, Richard Wright introduces Bigger Thomas, a liar and a thief. Wright evokes sympathy for this man despite the fact that he commits two murders. Through the reactions of others to his actions and through his own reactions to what he has done, the author creates compassion in the reader towards Bigger to help convey the desperate state of Black Americans in the 1930's. The simplest method Wright uses to produce sympathy is the portrayal of the hatred and intolerance shown toward Thomas as a black criminal. This first occurs when Bigger is immediately suspected as being involved in Mary Dalton's disappearance. Mr. Britten suspects that Bigger is guilty and only ceases his attacks when Bigger casts enough suspicion on Jan to convince Mr. Dalton. Britten explains, "To me, a nigger's a nigger" (Wright, Richard. Native Son. New York: Harper and Row, 1940. 154). Because of Bigger's blackness, it is immediately assumed that he is responsible in some capacity. This assumption causes the reader to sympathize with Bigger. While only a kidnapping or possible murder are being investigated, once Bigger is fingered as the culprit, the newspapers say the incident is "possibly a sex crime" (228). Eleven pages later, Wright depicts bold black headlines proclaiming a "rapist" (239) on the loose. Wright evokes compassion for Bigger, knowing that he is this time unjustly accused. The reader is greatly moved when Chicago's citizens direct all their racial hatred directly at Bigger. The shouts "Kill him! Lynch him! That black sonofabitch! Kill that black ape!" (253) immediately after his capture encourage a concern for Bigger's well-being. Wright intends for the reader to extend this fear for the safety of Bigger toward the entire black community. The reader's sympathy is further encouraged when the reader remembers that all this hatred has been spurred by an accident. While Bigger Thomas does many evil things, the immorality of his role in Mary Dalton's death is questionable. His hasty decision to put the pillow over Mary's face is the climax of a night in which nothing has gone right for Bigger. We feel sympathy because Bigger has been forced into uncomfortable positions all night. With good intentions, Jan and Mary place Bigger in situations that make him feel "a cold, dumb, and inarticulate hate" (68) for them. Wright hopes the reader will share Bigger's uneasiness. The reader struggles with Bigger's task of getting Mary into her bed and is relieved when he has safely accomplished his mission. With the revelation of Mary's death, Wright emphasizes Bigger's future, turning Mary into the "white woman" (86) that Bigger will be prosecuted for killing. Wright focuses full attention on the bewildered Bigger, forcing the reader to see the situation through Bigger's eyes. He uses Bigger's bewilderment to represent the confusion and desperation of Black America. The author stresses that Bigger Thomas is a mere victim of desperation, not a perpetrator of malicious violence. Desperation is the characteristic Wright uses throughout the novel to draw sympathy for Bigger. A killer with a calculated plan for evading punishment would be viewed more negatively than Bigger, a confused young man desperately seeking a means of escape. His first poor decision after Mary's death is to burn her in the Dalton furnace. The vile and outrageous course of action taken by Bigger impresses upon the reader the complete disarray of his thoughts. Readers observe the absence of careful thought as Bigger jumps out the Dalton's window, urinating on himself, and as he frantically rushes from building to building, searching for shelter. However, Wright also includes actions that seem irreproachable despite Bigger's state of mind. His brutal murder of Bessie, the only character willing to help him, angers the reader. It is at that point that Bigger seems most immoral, but Wright again shows Bigger's helplessness. Wright contrasts the "insistent and demanding" (219) desire that encourages Bigger to force intercourse with Bessie with the desperation that causes him to kill her. Even in the most immoral of acts, Wright finds a way to accentuate the difference between actions borne of depravity and those borne of desperation.. The ultimate desperation and hopeless nature of Bigger's future as the book closes and the death sentence is imposed leaves the reader with a sense of sympathy at Bigger's plight. Bigger's state at the end of the novel parallels the desperation of Black America's present and the uncertainty of its future. Blac

Our inspirational collection of essays and research papers is available for free to our registered users

Related Essays on Cliff Notes

Through The Tunnel by Doris Lessing

Click Here For Research Papers Online! Point of View Essay In the short story "Through the tunnel", Doris Lessing describes the adventu...

read more
Jack London's To Build a Fire

Click Here For Research Papers Online! Modern Lit. Paper Significance of Words Dying and Death in "To Build a Fire" Dying and Death in "To Build a Fire" The significance of the words "dying...

read more
"The True Devils in Salem" in Arthur Miller's The Crucible

Click Here For Research Papers Online! English - The Crucible by Arthur Miller The True Devils in Salem In The Crucible by Arthur Miller, the madness of the Salem witch trials is explored in gre...

read more
"Willy's Escape" in Arthur Miller'sDeath of a Salesman

Click Here For Research Papers Online! Death of a Salesman: Willy Lowman Willy's Escape No one has a perfect life. Everyone has conflicts that they must face sooner or later. The ways in which p...

read more
A View From A Bridge by Arthur Miller

Click Here For Research Papers Online! Character Essay After reading Arthur Miller's play "A view from the bridge," I am convinced that the mos...

read more
Quest for Personal Identidy in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye

Click Here For Research Papers Online! English Quest for Personal Identity in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye Post World War I, many new opportunities were given to the growing and expanding gro...

read more