Native Son

This essay Native Son has a total of 2731 words and 15 pages.

Native Son

Native Son: Character Actions Defines Their Individual
Personalities and Belief Systems

Richard Wright\'s novel, Native Son, consisted of various main and
supporting character to deliver an effective array of
personalities and expression. Each character\'s actions defines
their individual personalities and belief systems. The main
character of Native Son, Bigger Thomas has personality traits
spanning various aspect of human nature including actions
motivated by fear, quick temper, and a high degree of
intelligence. Bigger, whom the novel revolves around, portrays
various personality elements through his actions.

Many of his action suggest an overriding response to fear, which
stems from his exposure to a harsh social climate in which a clear
line between acceptable behavior for white\'s and black\'s exists.
His swift anger and his destructive impulses stem from that fear
and becomes apparent in the opening scene when he fiercely attacks
a huge rat. The same murderous impulse appears when his secret
dread of the delicatessen robbery impels him to commit a vicious
assault on his friend Gus. Bigger commits both of the brutal
murders not in rage or anger, but as a reaction to fear. His
typical fear stems from being caught in the act of doing
something socially unacceptable and being the subject of
punishment. Although he later admits to Max that Mary Dalton\'s
behavior toward him made him hate her, it is not that hate which
causes him to smother her to death, but a feeble attempt to evade
the detection of her mother. The fear of being caught with a
white woman overwhelmed his common sense and dictated his
actions. When he attempted to murder Bessie, his motivation came
from intense fear of the consequences of "letting" her live.
Bigger realized that he could not take Bessie with him or leave
her behind and concluded that killing her could provide her only
"merciful" end.

The emotional forces that drive Bigger are conveyed by means other
than his words. Besides reactions to fear, his actions demonstrate
an extremely quick temper and destructive impulse as an integral
part of his nature. Rage plays a key part in his basic nature,
but does not directly motivate the murders he commits. Rage does
not affect Bigger\'s intelligence and quick thinking and it becomes
evident during the interview with Briton. The detective makes
Bigger so angry that the interrogation becomes a game to Bigge

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