Native Son, by Richard Wright, explores a time when the black population saw potential and power slip through their hands. Bigger Thomas, the main character, is e typical African-American male struggling through life and trying to climb his way up the poverty ladder. Most of the events early on seem to be in his favor, but that soon takes a twisted turn for the worst and he is on the run to save his life. Whether through moments of severe vulnerability and helplessness, fits of anger and rage, flashes of fear and anxiety, times of embarrassment and humiliation, or even the scare moments of pride and joy, the story of Bigger Thomas clearly shows the lack of power held by the Black American in the 1930's.
Humiliation comes early on for Bigger, and demonstrates that power was a vast unknown to him. The first scene portrays just exactly the kind of poverty that would drive a person like Bigger to crime.
Bigger's mother and sister are horrified at the sight of a huge rat, which Bigger quickly slays. Other humiliation stems from the fact that they have to live in a one room apartment with 4 family members, and turn their backs simply so they can dress in private. Bigger is constantly reminded that he is to blame. Bigger's mother often states, "We wouldn't have to live in this garbage dump if you had any manhood in you. (12)" Bigger's humiliation is also seen whenever he has to account for himself to white people. For example, when he first arrives at the Daulton's to apply for the job, when he eats lunch with Mary and Jan at the chicken place, and also more importantly when he is being cross examined by Buckley in prison. With Buckly draining all hope...