Soon after his arrest, it's perfectly clear to Bigger that the authorities plan to make an example of him. They're not just planning to put him to death for the crime he's committed; they're going to use his forthcoming trial to terrorize the entire black community. For this deeply prejudiced society, Bigger's greatest crime is not so much killing a woman as killing a white woman, so at his forthcoming trial, his race will also be in the dock.
However, Bigger is not about to play along: he becomes proud and defiant, especially upon reading the newspaper reports of his case, with their dehumanizing, racist language. He resents his treatment at the hands of the authorities and the media alike, and he does whatever he can to maintain some semblance of dignity in the midst of this firestorm. At the same time, Bigger appears remorseful, and his sense of guilt is compounded by Jan's genuine forgiveness over the killing of the woman he loved.