In Richard Wright’s Native Son, the protagonist, Bigger Thomas, finds himself on the run after accidentally killing a young white woman.
At one point, about halfway through the novel, he seeks shelter and comfort from his girlfriend, Bessie. At first he lies to Bessie about his part in the killing. But after she questions him, he tells her the truth. Soon afterwards, he begins to feel that she is a danger to him because of what she knows. He thinks to himself:
It would have been much better if he had not said anything to Bessie about the murder.
Because of what he has told her, he must now consider how to best handle the situation.
He could not leave her here, and he could not take her with him . . . she would be blaming him for all that had happened.
When he feels that he is in an impossible situation, he has to consider doing the unthinkable—killing Bessie. Wright goes on to describe the murder gruesomely. Whereas the killing of Mary had been an innocent accident, the killing of his own girlfriend is violent and intentional. Out of his own fear of betrayal and capture, Bigger has allowed himself to become monstrous.