ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂDo you believe in fate Neo,ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ Morpheus asks. ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂNo,ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ Neo responds. ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂWhy not?ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂBecause I donÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂt like the idea that IÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂm not in control of my life,ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ Neo explains. In this scene (from the blockbuster smash hit The Matrix) a parallel can be drawn between Neo and Bigger Thomas (the protagonist in Richard WrightÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs novel Native Son) because Bigger shares NeoÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs feelings about fate. Bigger Thomas, a boy who has grown up with the chains of white society holding him back from opportunity, has only one solution to escape from the white walls which are closing in on him. His solution is to kill two women (one of whom is the daughter of a rich white family) to demonstrate that he is fed up with his life being controlled by fate. The author does an exceptional job in creating a theme that illustrates how racism takes away the self-control of the oppressed, thus leaving their lives in the hands of fate.
The theme that racism doesnÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂt allow the oppressed to control their lives can be demonstrated through the symbolism of the rat, the poster outside of BiggerÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs apartment, and BiggerÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs encounter with the ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂnutÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ in jail.
ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ To BiggerÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs chagrin he is not in control of his life. His life is dictated by a large group of white peopleÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs false belief of superiority. With every cause there is an effect, and the effect that this burden has on Bigger turns him into an animal, living for only one thing, survival.
ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂThere he is again, Bigger!ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ the woman screamed, and the tiny, one-room apartment galvanized into violent action. A chair toppled as the woman, half dressed in her stocking feet, scrambled breathlessly upon the bed. Her two sons, barefoot, stood tense and motionless, their eyes searching anxiously under the bed and chairs. The girl ran into the corner, half stooped and gathered the hem of he slip into both of her hands and held it tightly over her kneesÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ¦ A huge black rat squealed and leaped at BiggerÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs trouser-leg and snagged it in his teeth hanging onÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ¦ Bigger aimed and let the skillet fly with a heavy grunt. There was a shattering of wood as the box caved inÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ¦ The woman screamed and hid her face in her hands. Bigger tiptoed forward and peered. ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂI got ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂim,ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ he muttered [.] (4-6) At first glance this quote could seem meaningless, but later the reader learns in the book that a parallel can be drawn between the big black rat and the big black Bigger. Like the rat, Bigger is not wanted in his environment, any of his actions are obsolete because it is his destiny to be the scum of the earth. Not for any other reason than the white people have taken control of BiggerÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs life. They dictate what he can and canÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂt do, leaving his life no longer in his hands, but the hands of fate. ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂOn all fours he scrambled to the next ledge then turned and looked backÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ (264). ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂHe continued to crawlÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ (265). ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂBiggerÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs lips pulled back, showing his white teethÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ (336). All these excerpts are the authorÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs way of illustrating to reader that Bigger and the rat are closely related. Bigger, who is like the rat, can only run and hide so much before heÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs trapped and gets a skillet to the head. Bigger though is in essence already trapped, not by any king of physical barrier, but by the hate of the whites. BiggerÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs, like the ratÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs, destiny is to be trapped and killed which is well demonstrated through symbolism.
ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ Another factor that would lead the reader to believe that racism does not leave the lives of the oppressed in their hands is something Bigger sees everyday of his life. ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂThey were pasting a huge colored poster to a sign board. The poster showed a white face. ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂThatÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs Buckley!ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ He [Bigger] spoke softly to himselfÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ¦ Above the top of the poster were tall red letters: YOU CANÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂT WIN!ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ (13). This demonstrates what Bigger is up against. Seeing this white face everyday assuring him that he canÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂt win, is a reminder to Bigger that his life is in the control of the people who hate him and because of that he canÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂt win. Bigger has no opportunity to flourish in this rich nation. ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂI could fly a plane if I had a chance,ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ Bigger said. ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂIf you wasnÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂt black and if you had some money and if theyÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂd let you go to that aviation school, you could fly a plane,ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ Gus saidÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ (17). It is BiggerÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs fate to be a failure. Like Gus said, Bigger has all these things against him, such as race and income, that he canÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂt control. These ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂcoincidencesÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ canÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂt be ignored and can be only be explained as fate. ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂFor a moment Bigger contemplated all the ifs that Gus had mentionedÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ (17). If Bigger was white, all of the ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂifsÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ would be irrelevant. If Bigger was white, the sky would be the limit. He could do or become just about whatever he wanted and he would be in control of his life. The only way Bigger could take control was to kill two women, and as a result he lost his life.
ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ Even if Bigger would have gone to college and gotten an education it is his destiny to end up to the way he did.
ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂHe [a black man brought into BiggerÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs cell] went off his nut from studying too much at the university. He was writing a book on how colored people live and he says somebody stole all the facts he found. He says he got to the bottom of why colored folks are treated bad and heÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs going to tell the President and have things changed, see?ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ (343) The author demonstrates that the oppressed, whether they took the low road (Bigger) or the high road (the nutÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ) end up in the same place. The oppressed donÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂt have control of their lives and the author proves it by showing how fate brought these two polar opposites together. ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂI was trying do something else. But it seems like I never could. I was always wanting something and I was feeling that nobody would let me have itÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ (425). Bigger expresses that a different force drove him, something made him do the things he did and that is fate. It was just made to be that he would end up dead for the women he killed. ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂHe had lived outside of the lives of men. Their modes of communication, their symbols and images, had been denied himÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ (422). Bigger doesnÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂt understand the hate, communication, and expressions of the whites. So, as a result he is forced to just float through life being lead by only one thing, fate.
ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ The lives of the oppressed were not in their hands, but the hands of fate. The author does a fine job of expressing this through the use of concrete images. He depicts the life of a boy whose life was planned out before he was born and in retaliation he kills. I feel the author is letting the people of this so-called ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂfree countryÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ know that our hate kills more than the hands of a murderer.