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The transformation of Bigger Thomas

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The Transformation of Bigger Thomas


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The two books, which are parts of Richard Wrights novel Native Son, mark the transformation between Biggers flight and fate. Accordingly, Book Two: Flight is more foreshadowing than Book One: Fear, where a feeling of suspense is sustained all through the story. This creates anxiety for the reader who keeps waiting to see Bigger becoming more and more entangled in the web of fate. Nevertheless, the gallows warning from Ma recurs as Bigger exhibits a sense of pride that precedes his great fall. His headlong rush to fate is not dampened even after Bessie warns him of the slim chances to escape the white police officers or the mob. His brutal response to this forestalling leads to an ironic seal of his fate as he speaks to himself about his entry to the new world. Certainly, Bigger gets into the process of transforming from a villain to a new person who is intended for the new world by seeking human naturalism (Butler 45).

Bigger is a villain, which emanates from his lurid act of killing Mary Dalton and burning her body in the furnace. He casts aspersions on Jan for the kidnap of Mary Dalton just because he is a Communist. Due to this untrue information, the police places Jan under arrest for questioning after a ransom letter is found outside the Daltons home. Bigger escapes the journalist who came looking for him to make news, and goes to the basement to check whether Marys body burned completely in the furnace. This act of concealing evidence appears to be short lived as the press follows him up and finds him engulfed in smoke. They later come to realize he was the killer after he escapes and Marys unburned bones are discovered in the furnace (Wright 54).

His heinous acts continue when his girlfriend discovers that he actually killed Mary. She tries to weep but he slaps her and forces her to make no fuss; he rouses Bessie and drags her to the freezing cold warehouse where he rapes and kills the girl to death. His ruthless acts create suffering to other black people in the locality since they are subjected to massive search and harassment by the authorities. In Book One, he is just a young and naive petty thief who leaves visible marks on his subjects. His crimes have something intelligent that even the authorities are not convinced that he has worked alone as a black person.

The major reasons for Biggers transformation are that he had to struggle to come to terms with his actions and new image he has made of himself. His identity crisis is more of a struggle that separates his impressions from the racist projections around the society. Even after accepting his responsibility for the crimes, he faces complex tasks of asserting his worth. One essential point to note is that the treatment of the theme of identity and transformation bears a close resemblance to the philosophies expounded in various existential works.

The Character that Influenced Biggers Transformation

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After he is arrested, he lives with mixed moods of hatred, fear, vice and repentance. At this point, Jan, the Daltons, his mother and siblings crowd into his jail cell. He feels guilty as his mother sobs and is unable to look at her. His younger brother wants to help him get out of prison, and due to his dichotomous thinking, Buddy assures Bigger that he will defend his innocence by getting a gun to kill the enemies. However, his emotional utterance is not accepted by Bigger. His sister is ashamed to go to school because her classmates mock at her. Veras shame is satiated with hateful feelings. Bigger also begins to feel ashamed of what he has done to his family and the disgrace he has brought to them. In the prison, he reconsiders his past, repents his errors, and reviews the miserable life he experienced. He revives his mind to realize how racism has overshadowed his consciousness and turned him from a conscious thinker to an ignorant beast. After Mr. Maxs questioning during his defense, he achieves mental maturation not because of the content of the defense but due to his confusion on what he says. He is shocked because a white man defends a black man against atrocities he caused to the whites (Rampersad 38). Biggers character can be compared to exaggerated hubris, which is a conflict that can be found in human naturalism. His exaggerated pride and self-confidence while defending the racial discrimination of his people result in two horrible crimes.

Towards the end of the second book, Bigger Thomas realizes how bad he wanted his life to be and also understands that his fear came from his consciousness. Moreover, he becomes aware that the emancipation of the black people only depends on themselves. Owing to this comprehension, the fear is gone and he welcomes his new life by reviving his human nature to make a meaningful life ahead. He regrets his actions and feels deeply humiliated by his crimes. He realizes his importance to the family, but this simple truth comes too late as he is sentenced. He assured Max to tell Jan, his mother and siblings that his actions were not examples of bravery but fear and craze of what the society has offered them (Guttman 27).

The notable feature of the novel is the offspring of racial discrimination in the society. Racial naturalism is indicative of the old biological conception associated with race. It depicts race as a bearer of behavioral essence underlying the genetic properties. Despite having a philosophical and scientific consensus on racial naturalism, philosophers disagree on the ontological status of the conception of race. It proves that Biggers behavior and attitude to people resemble stereotypes set by the American society. However, the irony in racial discrimination and inequality enforce his desire to seek human naturalism.

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