The Cycle Of Fear Essay

656 words - 3 pages

     Native Son by Richard Wright is a piece of literature that is meant to demonstrate how fear in the white community drives society to label blacks as dangerous, immoral, and subhuman. The main character, Bigger Thomas, embodies all of the preconceptions and secret fears that people associate with black Americans. He lies, he steals, he is violent, and by the end of the story he is a rapist and a murderer. The first time he is given an opportunity to improve his family’s life, he tries to adapt, but because of a turn of fate he has to throw his chances away. Bigger wants to evade all of the stereotypes of “people like him.” Eventually he realizes that he has become what everybody fears most: a nigger. His horrific crimes awaken the fears that the majority has against blacks, and they unleash a new wave of intolerance and oppression, which in turn creates more men just like Bigger.
     The story is set in post-WWII Chicago. Racism and segregation is a part of everyday life for Bigger. It is unspoken but everyone knows that blacks are only allowed to do certain things, while the whites keep their distance. A life of poverty and indifference has caused Bigger and his friends to become crooks, just as most people expect young black men to be. In order to enjoy simple entertainments like cigarettes and the cinema, Bigger’s crew has robbed from black-owned businesses many times. However, when a plan is made to steal from Blum’s Deli, which is run by a white man, Bigger instinctively evades the situation because he knows that being caught would destroy his future, especially because he is black. Instead he takes a job working for a wealthy white family, the Daltons. Mr. Dalton trusts Bigger and tries to be sympathetic toward him, which actually makes Bigger uncomfortable and volatile. His first night on the job, he has to escort the daughter Mary Dalton to her bedroom...

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