Native Son Questions and Answers

Native Son

Two themes emerge strongly in Native Son by Richard Wright: first, the theme of individuality as a force for good; second, the theme of oppression as stunting not only black psychology but white...

Latest answer posted January 31, 2019 3:22 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Native Son

Bigger is a young man dominated by fear living in a world of limited aspirations, but nevertheless it is a world he cannot fully understand. His murder of the white woman Mary is accidental, and it...

Latest answer posted July 16, 2017 1:31 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Native Son

Richard Wright’s novel Native Son tells the story of Bigger Thomas, a 20-year-old African American young man born into extreme poverty in Chicago’s South Side. The narrative occurs in the 1930s,...

Latest answer posted December 8, 2019 1:49 am UTC

4 educator answers

Native Son

In Native Son Bigger's principal fear, at least on the surface, appears to be that of losing face in front of others in the neighborhood. In the pool room, he provokes a fight, ostensibly because...

Latest answer posted April 18, 2018 6:35 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Native Son

Some scholars have suggested Wright gave him this name because of its similarity in sound to the n-word. There is no way of verifying this, but if this was indeed the reason for his choice, it...

Latest answer posted January 4, 2019 4:13 am UTC

2 educator answers

Native Son

Essentially because Bigger is afraid of robbing Blum's deli and to avoid having to go through with the plan he attacks Gus. As we learn early in the scene, Bigger is "fascinated with the idea of...

Latest answer posted May 20, 2010 3:50 am UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

Mrs. Thomas wishes that Bigger would "shape up" and become the dutiful, responsible person any mother wants her son to be. She realizes that Bigger is a rebel, a young man who has no interest in...

Latest answer posted November 14, 2018 5:57 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

As Mrs. Thomas demonstrates, religion is used to reflect a faith or belief in the afterlife. Religion is a means by which individuals can find some hope in a world that is not of this world. This...

Latest answer posted June 17, 2011 8:34 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

As "Book 1: Fear" opens, we see the entire family waking up early in their cold, cramped, rat-infested room, with the mom hurrying everybody up so she can get to her work. The beds are made of...

Latest answer posted March 23, 2016 2:16 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

In Native Son, both snow and the white cat are associated with the dominant, White society. The snow stands for the entirety of White society, an inescapable element that oppresses Bigger as it...

Latest answer posted July 26, 2020 4:16 am UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

In many ways, Wright constructs Bigger's narrative in the same way as the rat in the novel's exposition. Both creatures live in a “narrow circle, looking for a place to hide." In such an idea,...

Latest answer posted January 28, 2014 12:29 am UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

Although Bessie is an important character in Bigger's life, his emotional connection to her is tenuous. She is described as emotionally unstable, and their relationship isn't emotionally intimate....

Latest answer posted January 31, 2019 9:37 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Native Son

Bigger and Bessie's relationship is not one of mutual feelings of affection but of a transactional exchange of liquor and sex. Bessie seeks to numb herself and the realities of her oppression...

Latest answer posted December 2, 2018 5:32 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Native Son

A recurring theme in African American literature is one of flight or escape. African folk tales often chronicle this flight theme with characters turning into birds to escape their plight. Flight...

Latest answer posted February 6, 2016 3:36 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

It is due to poverty and his family's ongoing struggle for survival that Bigger ends up becoming an accidental murderer. I would also argue that race and racism are highly prevalent themes in this...

Latest answer posted June 23, 2020 6:20 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

It would be an understatement to say Bigger is made uncomfortable by Mary and Jan. The initial reason for this, on the surface, is that he is supposed to be driving Mary to the university, and she...

Latest answer posted May 30, 2019 4:22 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

Mary's death is the direct result of the fear that comes over Bigger when he takes her up to her room and Mrs. Dalton suddenly appears. Bigger has been forced into the situation because Mary is so...

Latest answer posted April 12, 2019 6:33 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Native Son

The opening section of Native Son, titled "Fear," is as much focused on the conflicts within the Thomas family as on the poverty in which they live. Bigger's mother is aware of the "gang" he pals...

Latest answer posted February 27, 2018 1:43 am UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

After Bigger commits his crime, he begins to lose his fear of the white society that had, until then, always controlled him and held him down. By murdering a white woman, Bigger feels that he...

Latest answer posted January 13, 2010 10:29 am UTC

2 educator answers

Native Son

Let's take a close look at the exact passage you're referring to in Richard Wright's novel Native Son (1940). To set the scene, Bigger Thomas is the protagonist: he's a twenty-year-old African...

Latest answer posted December 11, 2017 5:29 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

By opening his novel Native Son in the cramped, small one room apartment, Wright is showing his audience just how poor the Thomas family is. In the first few pages, the reader sees how the is...

Latest answer posted January 22, 2012 7:04 am UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

There is one main symbol seen in the opening of the novel Native Son. At the opening of the novel, Mrs. Thomas sees a rat and demands that Bigger kill it. Bigger begins to hunt the rat in order to...

Latest answer posted January 9, 2012 9:13 am UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

Wright takes the social conditions faced by African- Americans and internalizes them in the character of Bigger. In some respects, Wright's depiction is the logical extension of Langston Hughes'...

Latest answer posted December 30, 2010 11:18 am UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

I don't see Bigger trying to blame anyone else for what he did. That being said, I think that Bigger has convinced himself that he can "make this work." For him, this is another example of the...

Latest answer posted June 17, 2011 8:51 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

In Richard Wright’s novel Native Son, the protagonist, Bigger Thomas, cannot admit to killing his employer’s daughter Mary, nor to killing Bessie, because of fear of racist retaliation. Throughout...

Latest answer posted November 12, 2018 10:51 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

Hello! You asked about Richard Wright's Native Son. Richard Wright is one of the most important African-American authors of the twentieth century. In the novel, Bigger Thomas, who is twenty years...

Latest answer posted April 28, 2015 7:47 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

Bigger and Gus like to "play white" in Native Son by Richard Wright. We gain important insight into these characters based on the roles they play when they pretend to be white people, of which...

Latest answer posted May 17, 2019 5:32 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

The famous Loeb-Leopold case from the 1920's is what Bessie reminds Bigger of, and this becomes a model for his plot to obtain ransom money from the Daltons for Mary. There are several significant...

Latest answer posted April 5, 2019 4:55 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

Bigger signs the note "Red," and draws a hammer and sickle, the emblem of the Communist party. He does this in order to make the kidnapping scheme more believable, because he knows that there is...

Latest answer posted May 28, 2019 6:09 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

According to the story, the wooden cross that he offered Bigger to wear as a way to redeem himself to good suddenly reminded bigger of the burning crosses of the KKK, and the image freaked him out,...

Latest answer posted June 15, 2009 6:27 am UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

I think that Wright does a good job of bringing out how fundamentally uncomfortable Bigger is with Jan and Mary. From the moment, Jan rebukes social custom and drives to the shared dining...

Latest answer posted January 24, 2012 7:33 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

The opening scene in Chapter 1 of Native Son offers us several glimpses into Bigger Thomas and where he comes from. For example, the Thomas family is poor as evidenced by the small one room...

Latest answer posted April 8, 2010 5:28 am UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

Bigger's embrace of violence is a critical part to his characterization. While he kills Mary and sets in motion the eventual tragedy that is Bigger's life, his allusions to killing are...

Latest answer posted February 10, 2014 4:28 am UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

In the context of your question, irony means when an event takes place and that event goes against generally presumed expectations. There’s a few ways in which Mary Dalton’s death happens in an...

Latest answer posted August 12, 2020 1:51 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

Throughout the trial we see first hand the racism of both white society generally and, even more specifically, the white prosecutor. The angry mob outside the jail and courthouses clearly display...

Latest answer posted April 16, 2010 4:00 am UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

From a psychological perspective, this is a complex question to answer but the answer sheds a great deal of light and insight into the character of Bigger Thomas! In short, Bigger pulls the knife...

Latest answer posted December 21, 2011 2:15 am UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

In Native Son, the one character who is literally blind is Mrs. Dalton. That she is sightless serves as a metaphor for the other characters' (as well as her own) inability to see their own faults...

Latest answer posted July 29, 2020 3:39 am UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

Bigger Thomas feels alive and free from the oppression of white society when he thinks about or commits crime. However, it is that same white society oppression that scares Bigger and keeps him...

Latest answer posted November 16, 2010 12:29 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

Bigger accuses Gus of being a "yellow black bastard" as a way of concealing his own fear. Previous to this, all of the petty crime that Bigger, Gus, and Jack have committed has been against other...

Latest answer posted April 16, 2010 4:25 am UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

Many of the most important themes of Richard Wright’s novel Native Son are announced in the titles of its various sections or “books.” Book 1, for instance, is titled “Fear.” Book 2 is titled...

Latest answer posted April 18, 2012 2:19 am UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

Mr. Max's central argument during Bigger's trial is that white society and their ever-present oppression of African Americans is the root cause of both Bigger's attitude and his crime. In essence,...

Latest answer posted April 6, 2010 12:58 am UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

Before we talk about four examples of anonymous collectivity in Native Son, we should probably define anonymous collectivity. It's not exactly a common phrase. Many people could go days, weeks, or...

Latest answer posted August 1, 2020 4:37 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

Richard Wright’s Native Son was one of the earliest American novels to openly and forthrightly look at the problem of racial prejudice in United States. It was published in 1940, at a time when the...

Latest answer posted May 24, 2015 12:24 am UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

Bigger's fear of Gus stems from the plan to rob Blum's deli. As we learn early in the scene, Bigger is "fascinated with the idea of the robbery, and a little afraid of it." However, Bigger refuses...

Latest answer posted May 19, 2010 11:17 am UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

The opening scene of Native Son is a harsh depiction of poverty in urban America. Bigger Thomas, his mother, his sister, and his brother all live in a cramped flat that makes privacy and comfort...

Latest answer posted June 27, 2020 4:34 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

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...

Latest answer posted May 25, 2008 7:02 am UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

The one consistent behavioral pattern that Bigger follows occurs whenever he is under pressure of feels threatened. This seems to always end in violence. The first example of this occurs when...

Latest answer posted April 10, 2009 3:30 am UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

Book 1 of Native Son is entitled "Fear". The main character of the story told here is Bigger Thomas, who is twenty years old and lives in a tenement in the South Side of Chicago. Bigger's mother...

Latest answer posted July 27, 2009 7:05 am UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

Richard Wright’s novel Native Son is set in Chicago in the late 1930s and reflects many different traits of the city during that historical era. Such traits include the following: Chicago had a...

Latest answer posted April 18, 2012 3:00 am UTC

1 educator answer

Native Son

Bigger Vance understands that he lives in a racially constructed society; for him, the world is clearly separated into the domains of white people and black people. As he sees himself making...

Latest answer posted May 31, 2019 9:31 pm UTC

1 educator answer

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