Native Son Bigger Versus The Daltons

546 words - 2 pages

In the book Native Son by Richard Wright, the protagonist, Bigger Thomas, accidentally killed the daughter of the family he obtained a new job with, Mary Dalton. Bigger committed one of the most grievous crimes known to man; he killed another human being. However, Bigger should not be punished because the killing was an accident, because it was driven by intense fear, and because convicting him would outrage the black community.
First, Bigger unintentionally killed Mary; it was by no means a murder. Bigger was trying to prevent Mary from making sudden noises that would alert her parents to her state of intoxication. He simply did not realize his strength and suffocated her. This manslaughter does not merit punishment. This notion is supported by the 1913 case, Johnson vs. Cutnell. Ben Johnson accidentally shot Davis Cutnell while trying to stop a robbery. Johnson was not punished and walked away free. Bigger’s case is extremely similar to Johnson’s because if Mary was not drunk, Bigger would not have been in her room, helping her go to bed. Bigger does not deserve a punishment for killing Mary.
In conjunction with the killing being an accident, it was driven by fear. Bigger, like many contemporary black men, was afraid of white people. He was terrified of persecution from them, and he was terrified of the consequences resulting from interracial events. In fact, Bigger was so stricken with fear of consequences, he took the risk of killing Mary and even cremated her corpse after her death. He thought that this was preferable to being caught in Mary’s room with her drunk; he would have been accused of raping a white woman and would have...

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