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Sidney Owens Essay

1591 words - 7 pages

Is there a thing such as Equality in America? In the novel “Native Son” Richard Wright contrasts the oppressing life of African-Americans to the luxurious and effortless life of Anglo-Americans. Wright creates a character named Bigger Thomas, a 20 year-old young man living in extreme poverty with limited options to succeed in the world, like the majority of African-Americans during the 1930s. Wright uses the Daltons, a high ranking white family living in an extraordinarily large house, in comparison to Bigger Thomas’s one room apartment shared with his whole family. Furthermore, Wright uses opposing diction to differentiate the two ethnicities from each other. The “invisible line”, the ...view middle of the document...

” During this time Black people didn’t have a justice system, they weren’t even allowed to go to trial against a white person. Every time a black person challenged a white person, they lost because the system was corrupt. Bigger understood the system and felt he had no chance against it, so he lost all hope.
When in the presence of white people, Bigger’s whole demeanor changes, the narrator says, “He had not raised his eyes to the level of Mr. Dalton’s face once since he had been in the house. He stood with his knees slightly bent, his lips partly open, his shoulders stoop….There was an organic conviction in him that this was the way white folks wanted him to be when in their presence;” Bigger, and the most of the black community, had this type of idea imbedded in their psyche that no white man wants a “smart nigger” around them, so they often played dumb. In the novel, Wright depicts the typical African-American by using colloquialisms. The informal word choice that Wright uses to display the Blacks speech, like “mawnin”, “ef,” ”yessuh,” and “yessum” were all signs of unintelligence, exemplifying the conditioning Caucasians stored upon Blacks. The intellect differs from the way the whites spoke in the book like Mr. Max in the courtroom, “The unremitting hate of men has given us a psychological distance that will enable us to see this tiny social symbol in relation to our whole sick social organism.” This again shows how the Whites exhibited their superiority.
The injustice that the African American community face was appalling , and their living conditions were even more petrifying, especially Bigger’s. He lived in a “rat infested” apartment room with his two younger brother, sister and mother with only two “iron beds” for them to share. The congested room didn’t have any privacy for the family, so bigger and his brother had to often “gaze into a far corner of the room” to keep “from feeling ashamed” of watching their mother get dressed. With all of the distress that the room caused, the impoverished family was still over charged by the South Side Real Estate Company, which is owned by Mr. Dalton. There was an unwritten rule during this time, were black people could not stay in a certain part of Chicago. They were enclosed in the poorest of neighborhoods incapable of leaving, but on the other side of the “invisible line” they saw a different world. It very much differed from the poverty-stricken one they were use to. The image became very discouraging, seeing this superior world from the outside, and told they would never be able to experience it.

Section 2
Bigger’s high external locus of control leads him to believe that his destiny is already chosen for him. He constantly insists that something horrible is going to happen to him, Bigger states “Every time I get to thinking about me being black and they being white, me being here and they being there, I feel like something...

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