Race and Racism
The central event in the novel is the murder of Mary Dalton, a white woman. Ironically, whites are more infuriated by the idea that Bigger presumably raped her than the fact that he killed her. But he did not rape her. The woman he did rape and murder— his girlfriend Bessie Mears—is forgotten by white courts and white society. With this stark contrast, Wright suggests the great racial chasm that exists between blacks and whites. It is the image of Mary in a newsreel that inspired Bigger to take the job so that he might be closer to whites. He decides that...
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