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The Life And Works Of Richard Wright

2365 words - 10 pages

Racism is the most ubiquitous theme present in Native Son because it was written in a time when racial inequality was pervasive in everyday life. There was a large disparity in wealth between whites and blacks simply because whites were given more opportunity in the middle and upper class job section around the country, especially Chicago. The large disparity in wealth is best exemplified when Bigger first walks into the white society where:
“He had not expected anything like this; he had not thought that this world would be so utterly different from his own that it would intimidate him. On the smooth walls were several paintings whose nature he tried to make out, but failed. He would have liked to examine them, but he dared not. Then he listened; a faint sound of piano music floated to him from somewhere. He was sitting in a white world; dim lights burned around him; strange objects challenged him, and he was feeling very angry and uncomfortable.” (Wright 46).
The intense racism of the white society on the African Americans has caused Bigger to act immorally and irrationally as a result of fear. The immoral and irrational behavior that is caused by racism is best shown by “His crime felt natural; he felt that all of his life had been leading to something like this. It was no longer a matter of dumb wonder as to what would happen to him and his black skin; he knew now. The hidden meaning of life - a meaning which others did not see and which he had always tried to hide - had spilled out.” (Wright 106).
Bigger felt that his crime was justified because murder is an inevitable event that all his life has been leading to. His life has been filled with unjust racism towards blacks, so he felt justified that the killing of a white woman is something that was natural and necessary. Bigger seemed to have accepted how racists labeled and recognized him as a person who is inclined to do immoral actions (Davis). The white society also does not take any effort to improve the living conditions of African Americans or even bother to learn the negatively influencing environment that blacks live in. The obliviousness of white society is most clearly demonstrated by “You know, Bigger, I’ve long wanted to go into these houses, and just see how your people live. You know what I mean? I’ve been to England, France, and Mexico, but I don’t know how people live ten blocks from me. We know so little about each other. I just want to see. I want to know these people. Never in my life have I been inside of a negro home. Yet they must live like we live. They’re human. There are twelve million of them. They live in our country. In the same city with us.” (Wright 70). This excerpt from the book came from one of the dialogues of Mary, the wealthy white girl that Bigger was “forced” to murder because of her intoxication. Mary was a white woman who had not experienced the squalor of black society. As a result, she thinks relatively highly of black society in that she...

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