Books and Movies Reviews

Native Son Summary

In Native Son, by Richard Wright, the main character
is 20 year old Bigger Thomas. Growing up poor, uneducated,
and angry at the whole world, it is almost obvious that
Bigger is going to have a rough life. Anger, frustration,
and violence are habits for him. He is an experienced
criminal, and unable to handle with his wild mood swings,
Bigger often explodes in fits of crazy, aggressive outrage.
Bigger has grown up with the opinion that he simply has no
control over his life. In his mind, he can't ever be
anything more than an unskilled, low-wage laborer. He is
forced to take a job as a chauffeur for the Daltons to avoid
having to watch his own family starve.
Strangely, Mr. Dalton is Bigger’s landlord; he owns
most of the company that manages the apartment building
where Bigger’s family lives. Mr. Dalton and other wealthy
real estate men are robbing the poor, black tenants on the
South Side. What they do is refuse to rent apartments in
other neighborhoods to black tenants. By doing this, they
create an fake housing shortage on the South Side, and that
causes high rents. Mr. Dalton likes to think of himself as a
generous man just because he gives money to black schools
and offers jobs to “poor, timid black boys” like Bigger.
However, his generosity is only a way for him to get rid of
the guilty conscience he has for cheating the poor black
Mary Dalton, the daughter of Bigger’s Mr. Dalton,
angers Bigger when she ignores the “rules” of society when
it comes to relationships between white women and black men.
On hisfirst day on the job, Bigger drives Mary out to meet
her boyfriend, Jan. One thing leads to another, and all
three of them get drunk. Mary is too drunk to make it to her
bedroom on her own, so Bigger helps her up the stairs. Just
as he places Mary on her bed, Mary’s bli