Fear Driven: this is an essay that explains the reasoning behind the first book of "Native Son" by Richard Wright being called Fear

Essay by philliphookerHigh School, 11th gradeB+, October 2007

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Fear is defined as an unpleasant feeling of distress. Fear is a good title for the first book of Native Son because Bigger Thomas is driven by his fear. Every action that he takes is dictated by fear. Bigger fights with Gus because he was afraid. He goes out with Mary and Jan out of fear. The suffocation of Mary was also caused by his fear of being caught.

The first of Bigger’s actions that fear influenced was his fight with Gus.

Gus had made the statement before the robbery of Blum’s was to take place that Bigger acted scared to do it. Bigger acted tough to his group of friends in order to cover up his own fear of being caught and put in jail. But when Gus pointed this out Bigger resented Gus for putting it out in the open. Thus to cover up his true feelings Bigger fought Gus.

Fear pushed Bigger to greater and greater acts of stupidity to seem brave. Many of Bigger’s foolish mistakes are provoked by his fear of getting caught.

Another fear influenced action on Bigger’s part is his actions while with Jan and Mary. Bigger knows that Mary and Jan don’t belong where he does. He also knows that trouble could come of it if he tells them that he won’t sit with them at the restaurant. He is torn between two evils, being caught with them, or having them tell stories on him so he is fired. Bigger chooses to eat with them and do as he is told. But he is very squeamish the whole time that he does this. His lesser fear is realized when he is seen eating with Jan and Mary. But fear is abound in this book of Native Son.

Bigger’s drastic action that fear dictates to him is his accidental suffocation of Mary. It seems that his biggest fear is of losing his job, which is very understandable seeing how the welfare checks will quit if he is fired. But all of his lesser fear driven actions culminate in the suffocation of Mary. When Bigger drops Jan off he keeps wondering how he is going to keep his job even though he let Mary get drunk. But as he takes her up the stairs his fear elevates with every creak he hears. His fear of being caught with the drunken girl is so intense that he unknowingly suffocates Mary so that her mother won’t find out. It is evident that he didn’t mean to kill her. The action that Bigger took was just to silence her from her mother. But fear had caused his body to be full of adrenaline and he went over the line and killed her. Then after the actual killing, his fear made his mind work very quickly on how to get rid of her. It was evident under normal circumstances that Bigger would never have been able to do such horrendous acts as he did when he put her body in the furnace. Bigger’s fear of being charged with murder and rape gave him the motivation to kill her, hide her body then come up with a cover story that took all blame off of him.

So the title of the first book is very fittingly named, Fear. Almost every single action or decision that bigger makes is influenced by the very essence of fear of the white punishment. Fear is what made Bigger. Without fear he would have been a hollow shell of a character.