Topics for Discussion
1. What is the significance of Mrs. Dalton's blindness? Why is it important as both a symbol and plot device?
2. Why does Bigger not want to take Mary Dalton and Jan Erlone to black bars?
3. Why is it ironic that Mr. Dalton gives money to charity?
4. Why does Bigger have no qualms about lying, stealing, and killing?
5. Is all of the violence in this story necessary? What would the novel lose if the violence were eliminated?
6. Why doesn't Bigger accept his mother's religion? Why is he embarrassed when she asks him to pray?
7. Why is Bigger able to express his feelings to Boris Max, the lawyer from the Communist party? What does Max learn from Bigger?
8. Why does Jan Erlone, Mary's lover, think he is responsible for Bigger's actions?
9. Boris Max says that Bigger was not treated unjustly by the court because there was never a chance for any justice. What does he mean by this? Do you agree?