|Native Son, A Critical Review
Bigger, Crime, and Society
In the heated trial that determines whether Bigger Thomas will live or die, his supportive defense attorney exclaims, “You cannot kill this man, your Honor, for we have made it plain that we do not recognize that he lives!” Living in the Chicago slums as a poor, uneducated young black man whose only confidence can come from acts of violence, Bigger Thomas of Richard Wright’s novel Native Son is destined to meet a poor fate. Anger and hopelessness are a daily reality for him as he realizes that his life has no real meaning. When he accidentally murders a young, rich, white woman, however, his actions begin to have meaning as he accepts the crime as his own, even while he lies to the authorities. Bigger is, of course, taken down by a society who takes offense at the remarks of his supporters and seeks to justify itself. Bigger himself is doomed, but his emotions, his actions, and his motivations all help to give the re...