Native Son Questions and Answers
by Richard Wright

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In Native Son, why does Mrs. Thomas tell Bigger he is "the most no-countest man ever seen in all my life!"?  

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Thanh Munoz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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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 fulfilling society's demands of him: this is what's meant by her charge that he is "the most no-countest man" she's ever seen.

Bigger's feelings toward the outside world are governed by his understanding of the oppressive racial dynamic of the time. As the story of Native Son progresses, he becomes more and more objectively aware of the overall situation and the fact that he, unlike most other people, has chosen to opt out, to rebel against the system. Just as his mother recognizes Bigger's rebellious attitude (though perhaps does not understand the reasons for it), Bigger looks at his family and other African Americans and believes that they are "blind" in putting up with the system and acting as if it's normal. At the breakfast table, Bigger stares curiously at his brother Buddy and at the others, prompting Buddy to ask "Why are you looking at me that way, Bigger?" Bigger is a man alienated from not only the values of society, but of his traditional, religious mother. Her reaction to him is to criticize, not through lack of love but the opposite, and because of her fear that a catastrophe will occur, as it does.

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mkcapen1 | Student

Bigger Thomas, a young black man, has spent his youth getting into trouble.  He hangs on street corners with his friends and at pool halls.  He does what he wants and offers very little support for his mother.  His mother, Mrs. Thomas, is a hard working black woman.  She has always worked for whites and does whatever she can to support her family legally. 

Mrs. Thomas wants Bigger to get and keep a job but every time he tries something it falls through.  He continues to break the law and be lazy.  When she says that he is a "no-countest man," she means that she can never count on him to sick with anything the right way or help her out.