Compare and contrast Bigger's attitude toward the world around him with Mrs. Thomas in "Native Son".

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Both Mrs. Thomas and her son Bigger are all too aware that their position in sociey is sorely limited by racism and inequality.  The ways in which they deal with this reality, however, is very different.  Able neither to express nor deal with the constant deprivation and frustration that defines his life, Bigger responds with a rage that clouds his judgment.  Rather than demean himself by submitting to and serving the men that keep him down, Bigger discovers at an early age that the only way he can take control of his situation is through defiance, and he takes up a life of crime.  Although he kills Mary Dalton by accident, he can find no exoneration, because his situation is exacerbated by his attitude and his criminal past, and the fact that, as a black man who has harmed a white woman, he is symbolic of everything American fears.

Although Mrs. Thomas recognizes her impossible position as a black woman in the America of her times and knows that her son is headed for destruction, she forges ahead within the limited confines of her life, working doggedly to feed her family.  She is sustained by a strong religious faith, and a belief in an afterlife which will provide her with her reward.

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Native Son

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