Do Bigger and Bessie really love each other?

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MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think it would be incredibly difficult to agree that someone who rapes & violently kills a woman is truly in love with her.

Bessie represents a stereotype of women in the ghetto. These women are characterized by their tired eyes, a result of their ethnic and gender oppression. they usually have jobs like washing clothes or working in kitchens. Beaten by the depression in her situation, Bessie only wants to drink during her time off. Her relationship with Bigger seems to be built entirely on this idea of mutual exchange: he provides booze, she provides physical love. Yet their relationship seems as devoid of emotion and caring as possible.

However, I don't think Bigger's final act against Bessie is a result of hatred. I think it's a greater symptom of the oppression they both faced throughout their lives. Their inability to love each other is yet another example-the treatment of society has left them unable to feel, essentially.