The Importance of Equality in Richard Wright's Novel Native Son

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The Native Son is a novel about Bigger Thomas. It is the story of how a poor, uneducated, twenty-one year old black man in Chicago becomes a criminal and is sentenced to death. The story begins with Thomas killing a rat in his cramped apartment that he shares with his sister, mother, and brother. Instantly introducing the reader to the family’s poverty and way of life. Bigger is attached to the idea that because he is a black man, there is no other option for him to succeed in life other than turning to gangs and committing crimes. Bigger robs from black men’s businesses in order to get by. He meets up with his friends to rob a white man’s store for the very first time. Bigger does not view white people as individuals, rather, he views them as an oppressive force. This force overwhelms Wright and leads him to sabotage the entire robbery. Biggers mother had mentioned a job as a chauffeur for Mr. Dalton, his landlord. He has no other choice but to take that job.

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After taking a job as a chauffeur for Mr. Dalton and his family, Mary, Mr. Dalton’s daughter, had begged him to drive her to see her boyfriend, Jan. They all went to a restaurant. Jan and Mary were heavily intoxicated. Bigger drives her home and brings Mary into her room. When Bigger is alone in her room, he is aroused and kissed her. Because he feared that Mary’s blind mother would hear him in the room, he covered her face with a pillow and suffocated her to death. Afraid that he will be charged with murder, he burns her body in the furnace to hide what he has done. The murder of Mary gave Bigger a sense of power that he has never identified with before. For once, Bigger felt that he had accomplished something decent in his own life.

Bigger eventually got caught for killing two women, Mary and his girlfriend, Bessie. Mr. Max was Bigger’s lawyer in his trial. Bigger eventually revealed that he did in fact kill the women but only because he had no other choice. Frustration is the underlying characteristic of Bigger’s daily existence in life. In the trial, Mr. Max’s argument was that in this society Black people are set up for failure. Arguing that society gives black people no other option in life but to turn to violent crimes and eventually denying them the basic human right of success. When a person cannot achieve success with the intelligence and success they are born with, they often times turn to crimes to help them get by in life. Mr. Max tries to argue that instead of giving Bigger a death sentence, he should instead be given a sentence to jail. Instead, the Judge sentences Bigger the electric chair.

The reason why this novel is titled the Native Son is because Bigger Thomas was a product of the American culture. Racism and violence permeated Bigger Thomas into becoming a criminal, the definition of a native son. Bigger Thomas is the product of America’s native soil and its poor black communities. Richard Wright arguing that Bigger Thomas is a product of his environment. This novel sheds light on a very important issue that is still dealt with to this very day. Racism is still an issue in today's society whether people want to believe it or not. Black people have to work extra extra hard in order to achieve success. Sometimes, not being able to achieve it at all. When they are not able to achieve it, they turn to gangs, violence, and crimes in order to have some sort of direction in life. Black people are not given as many opportunities as white people. There are significantly less black people in the workforce. They are denied the right to move forward in life.

There has been no book ever published like this, which is why it has become so successful. So successful in fact that there was a movie produced regarding the book. This novel points out the importance of the relationship between the color or skin to everyday life. The white control labor, legal, religious, educational, and social institutions that eventually dictate how and where black families will live, can live, where they work, go to school, and do for the rest of their lives. This novel is a novel that needs to be read to everyone. It is super beneficial to how society works and allows for people to make up their own perspective on life. It offers ways for people to think about how this society is built for only a certain group of people to succeed. By spreading the message, it will help create a difference in order to create a better equality for any race and skin color.

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