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  AN UNDERGRADUATE THESIS Presented as Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Sarjana Sastra in English Letters



  Student Number: 014214026













  This undergraduate thesis is dedicated to My beloved Super Mom My Dad and My Grandma ‘RIP’ Senyawaku Pratanda Nugraha Respati

  De Remainers




  I praise the Lord for giving me these blesses so that I can finish what I have started. I would like to express my best gratitude to my beloved ‘Super Mom’, who never gives up in giving me support in every condition and to provide a vast heart to get me along with this thesis. I am honored to have her devoted love and I would like to thank her for always walking beside me.

  I would also give my sincere gratitude to my advisor, Drs. Hirmawan Wijanarka, M.Hum. for his great patience and advice in the process of finishing this undergraduate thesis. I thank my co advisor and also my academic advisor Dewi Widyastuti, S.Pd., M.Hum for the nice discussion, guidance and encouragement during these years. I also thank my academic advisor Maria Ananta Tri Suryandari, S.S., M.Ed. for her guidance and support during my study.

  I would like to express my gratitude to the family of Pdt. Djimanto Setiadi for all their supports and awareness. I give my special thank to Senyawaku Pratanda Nugraha Respati for his patience and sincerity during these last 7 years. You make me learn a lot about this life and finally ‘I paid my promise.’

  My special gratitude goes to all the lecturers and staff of English Letters Department. I thank to my lecturers Ni Luh Putu Rosiandani, S.S., M.Hum and Adventina Putranti, S.S., M.Hum for their kindly support and share. I gratefully thank Mbak Nik and all the staff of Sekretariat Sastra for all their kindly help and assistance during my study.


  My biggest thank goes to all my friends who never stop reminding me to finish my thesis. My special thank goes to the family of De Remainers: Sinda, Erna, Ian, Dian Kiting, Endra, Sigit, Monda, Imbik, Sandi, Bima, Wisnu, Fanky, Wawan, Fariz, Obed, Methy, Ririn, Putri, Kristy, Heni, Dita, Ikhsan and also to my friends Teki, Rina, Westri, Nyonyo, Dewi, Desty, ‘The Twin’ Ani and Ayi, Upik, Ririn, Nana, Yessi and Koyo for these beautiful friendship and support.

  I would also like to thank my partners in Bambini Montessori Miss Osa, Miss Intan, Miss Wida, Miss Anita and Miss Katrin for their kindness and awareness. Last but not least I would gratefully thank the family of Rumah Pelangi Muntilan that has given me the chance to see the world from different side. My grateful gratitude is dedicated to you all and to the people who have helped me during the process of finishing this thesis whose names are not mentioned here. Thank you.

  Dyah Ayu Kusumaningsih



  TITLE PAGE ............................................................................................................. i APPROVAL PAGE ................................................................................................... ii ACCEPTANCE PAGE .............................................................................................. iii LEMBAR PERNYATAAN PERSETUJUAN PUBLIKASI KARYA ILMIAH UNTUK KEPENTINGAN AKADEMIS .................................................................. iv STATEMENT OF WORK’S ORIGINALITY .......................................................... v DEDICATION PAGE ................................................................................................ vi ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ....................................................................................... vii TABLE OF CONTENTS ........................................................................................... ix ABSTRACT ............................................................................................................... x ABSTRAK ................................................................................................................. xi


CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION ............................................................................ 1

A. Background of the Study ................................................................................ 1 B. Problem Formulation ...................................................................................... 4 C. Objectives of the Study .................................................................................. 4 D. Definition of Terms ........................................................................................ 5

CHAPTER II. THEORETICAL REVIEW ........................................................... 7

A. Review of Related Studies ............................................................................. 7 B. Review of Related Theories ........................................................................... 8

  1. Theory of Character and Characterization ......................................... 8

  2. Theory of Personality Development ................................................... 12

  C. Theoretical Framework .................................................................................. 14


CHAPTER III. METHODOLOGY ....................................................................... 16

A. Object of the Study ........................................................................................ 16 B. Approach of the Study ................................................................................... 17 C. Method of the Study ....................................................................................... 18

CHAPTER IV. ANALYSIS .................................................................................... 20

A. Characteristics of Bigger Thomas .................................................................. 20 B. The influence of the Minor Characters toward Bigger’s Personality Development .................................................................................................. 35

CHAPTER V. CONCLUSION ............................................................................... 47

BIBLIOGRAPHY .................................................................................................... 51




  DYAH AYU KUSUMANINGSIH. The Influence of the Minor Characters


Toward Bigger’s Personality Development in Wright’s Native Son. Yogyakarta:

Departement of English Letters, Faculty of Letters, Sanata Dharma University, 2009.

  This thesis discusses Richard Wright’s novel entitled Native Son. The novel tells about the life of Bigger Thomas, a young black boy who lives in 1930s American society which is closely related to the issue of racism. Bigger grows as an ordinary black boy who does not have enough chance to make choices and show his existence. His life is full of fear and hate. Bigger’s personality develops under the influence of the other characters. In this study, the influence comes from the minor characters in this novel.

  There are two aims of this study. The first aim is to get understanding on Bigger’s characteristics as the main character in this novel. The second aim is to analyze the influence of the minor characters toward Bigger’s personality development at the end of the story.

  In analyzing the thesis, the writer uses library research method, in other words, the writer uses books as the references. The research applies some theories to answer the problems stated in the problem formulation. Those theories are theories of character and characterization and theories of personality development. The writer also uses the psychological approach since the focus of this study is analyzing the psychological aspects of the major character.

  The result of the analysis shows that the existence of the minor characters influence Bigger personality development. They change Bigger’s point of view and way of thinking. At the beginning of the story Bigger always avoids having any deals with the whites. On the other hand, Bigger turning point of life arises through the murder of the daughter of his white employer. Bigger is sentenced to death because of the murder he is committed. But then Bigger comes to realize there is still a place for him. When Bigger has to pay for his deed with his life, Bigger accepts it as his destiny. Bigger finally believes on himself. The treatments of the minor characters lead Bigger to get his self-determination.




  DYAH AYU KUSUMANINGSIH. The Influence of the Minor Characters


Toward Bigger’s Personality Development in Wright’s Native Son. Yogyakarta:

Jurusan Sastra Inggris, Fakultas Sastra, Universitas Sanata Dharma, 2009.

  Tesis ini membahas tentang novel Richard Wright yang berjudul Native Son. Novel ini bercerita tentang kehidupan Bigger Thomas, seorang pemuda kulit hitam yang hidup di tengah masyarakat Amerika tahun 1930an yang masih sangat lekat dengan masalah rasisme. Bigger tumbuh seperti pemuda kulit hitam pada umumnya.yang tidak punya cukup kesempatan untuk memilih dan menunjukkan keberadaannya. Hidupnya dipenuhi dengan ketakutan dan kebencian. Kepribadian Bigger berkembang karena pengaruh dari tokoh-tokoh lain. Dalam studi ini, pengaruh terhadap Bigger berasal dari tokoh-tokoh minor dalam novel ini.

  Ada dua tujuan pokok dalam studi ini. Tujuan pertama adalah mendapatkan pemahaman tentang penokohan Bigger sebagai tokoh utama dalam novel ini. Tujuan kedua adalah menganalisa pengaruh dari tokoh-tokoh minor terhadap perkembangan kepribadian Bigger di akhir cerita.

  Dalam pembuatan tesis ini, penulis menggunakan metode penelitian pustaka, dengan kata lain penulis menggunakan buku-buku sebagai referensi. Penelitian ini menerapkan beberapa teori yang digunakan untuk menjawab pertanyaan-pertanyaan yang dikemukakan dalam perumusan masalah. Teori tersebut adalah teori tokoh dan penokohan serta teori perkembangan kepribadian. Penulis juga menggunakan pendekatan psikologi karena fokus penelitian ini adalah pembahasan tentang aspek psikologi dari tokoh utamanya.

  Hasil dari analisis menunjukkan bahwa keberadaan tokoh-tokoh minor memepengaruhi perkembangan kepribadian Bigger. Tokoh-tokoh ini merubah cara pandang dan pola pikir Bigger. Pada awal cerita Bigger selalu menghindar untuk berurusan dengan orang-orang kulit putih. Tapi di sisi lain, titik balik dalam hidup Bigger muncul setelah pembunuhan anak perempuan majikan kulit putihnya. Bigger divonis hukuman mati karena pembunuhan yang sudah dia lakukan. Tapi kemudian Bigger menyadari bahwa masih ada tempat untuk dia. Ketika Bigger harus membayar perbuatannya dengan hidupnya, Bigger menerima itu sebagai takdirnya. Pada akhirnya Bigger percaya pada dirinya sendiri. Perlakuan tokoh-tokoh minor menuntun Bigger untuk mendapatkan pengakuan atas dirinya sendiri.


CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION A. Background of the Study Literature is familiar to common people. It represents human life into a form

  of writing such as novel, drama, poem, and short story. It is a reflection of human life. Therefore, literature and human life are two elements that are closely connected.

  Hudson in his book An Introduction to the Study of Literature stated that literature is the expression of life which uses language as the medium. It can be considered as a significant aspect since it contains human real life, people’s thought and their feeling about life (1963: 10).

  Literature and human life is closely related therefore through literature we can learn about life. The description of life in literary work such as the characters, the condition, the conflict and the problem faced by the character in the story may represent what happened in the real life. The way a character overcomes and solves the problem may also be a model of human life that can be learned. Any decision which is taken by a character in literary work shows to the reader what is in inside the character’s mind. Through the decision that is made by a character, the reader can understand the character’s way of thinking. It can be an inspiration for the reader to overcome the problems that happen in the real life. But, we cannot say that the facts in literature are completely similar with the fact in a real life since the author


  becomes more dramatic and interesting (Langland, 1984: 19). Some literary works are similar with the real life but some others are imaginative.

  Wellek and Warren say that a literary work is a medium where the writer can express and explore his idea (1977:134). Here, the writer has his own space to reveal his idea and explore it in a form of writing. In writing a literary work, the writer composes some elements together to make a good story. Those elements cannot stand alone because those are related to each other. As Rohberger and Wood stated clearly in his book Reading and Writing about Literature:

  Successful prose fiction combines all the elements in such a way that there is a complex interaction among them. For this reason, it is difficult to separate single element – to talk, for example about character without talking at the same time about plot or setting or conflict, because characters often determine plot, setting helps to define the characters, and conflict results from the placing of characters in situation (1971:20).

  One of the interesting ways in analyzing a literary work, especially a novel is connecting one element to another. By connecting those elements both the writer and the reader can have a new experience and improve their knowledge in understanding a story. This thesis will discuss characters as one of the intrinsic elements in a novel.

  This thesis will further explore how the other characters play a significant role in the personality development of the major character. The writer chooses this topic because there is a close relationship between those elements. A character in the novel must live in an environment which includes many aspects on it. The relationship and the socialization with other characters, geographical, moral values, local wisdom, authority, conflict among the characters are aspects that have a great deal of


  contribution in the development of a character’s personality. Those aspects are automatically produced by the environment. In other words, the characterization of a character is the representation of their environment. As Murphy stated in his book


Understanding Unseen that the setting can be concerned with the place and time in

  which the characters live. It gives a great effect on the character’s personality, action and their way of thinking (1972: 141).

  In this thesis the writer chooses one of Richard Wright’s works which portrays the life of the black people in 1920s American society, Native Son. The topic chosen by the writer is “The Influence of the Other Characters toward Bigger’s


Personality Development in Wright’s Native Son”. The writer is interested in Native

Son since it becomes the first novel by an African-American which is marked as the

  main selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club. It gives such curiosity to the writer to be acquainted with the novel.

  The interaction of characters in a story has a contribution in the character’s personality development. This is the essential evidence the writer analyze the character’s personality development. As stated in The Anatomy of the Novel,

  The greatest created characters have roundness complexity and multiplicity; they develop, they give the impression that they had a real; past, have a real future. One of the most important aspects is the interaction of characters. Contrasts are important. Such contrast makes both figures more real. But the characters also act on one another and developed as a result of these interactions, which are often, most of what a mainstream novel is about (Boulton, 1975: 78).

  The writer chooses that topic because the writer learns that Bigger’s


  story since he is the only character that is considerably changing. In the beginning of the story Bigger is only a twenty-year-old black man restricted in a South Side who is afraid of the whites and does not have self determination. As the story flow, the writer finds out that Bigger’s characteristics are interesting. He changes gradually from a poor unconfident black man who does not have any courage to prove his existence among the whites society into a man who finally finds his confession although it should be paid by his life.

  B. Problem Formulation The problems of this study are formulated as follows.

  1. What are the characteristics of Bigger depicted in the story?

  2. How are the influences of the minor characters toward Bigger’s personality development?

  C. Objectives of the Study The aim of this study is to answer the questions stated in problem formulation.

  The first aim is to reveal the characters of Bigger in the story. The writer will go deeper to discuss and reveal how Bigger’s characteristics described in the story. And the second aim is to observe how the minor characters support and contribute the personality development of Bigger. The contribution of the minor characters is essential to accomplish the development of personality. The events that occur in the


  story may cause conflicts and it will describe how the character influenced and deal with the conflict.

  In other words, the writer limits the analysis into two matters; focusing the analysis on Bigger’s characteristics and the minor characters which pay a significant contribution toward Bigger’s personality development. The problem formulation will reveal what is the significance of minor characters in a story and its contribution toward Bigger’s personality development.

D. Definition of Terms

  In analyzing a novel, it is important to understand the terms since the terms essentially related to the problem discussed. There are some terms used related to the topic that will be discussed in this thesis. Those terms are influence, character and personality.

  Influence according to Webster Encyclopedia is the capacity of power had by

  a man to produce affects on others indirectly (1989: 730). This definition means that a person may affect another person without the use of direct interaction. As similarly defines by Longman Dictionary of English language and Cultures, influence is as an effect on someone or something without the use of direct force or command (Summers, 1992: 674).

  Characters are the person presented in a dramatic or narrative work in which

  through their action and dialogue the reader may interpret their moral, dispositional


  character, Stanton in his book An Introduction to Fiction says that character is commonly used in two ways. The character is the design of the individual who appears in the story and refers to the mixture of their emotional qualities, interest, desires and moral principles (1965: 17).

  Personality as stated by Pervin and John in their book Personality: Research

and Method represents the characteristic of the person that account for consistent

  patterns of feeling, thinking and behaving (1996: 4). Kalish in his book The


Psychology of Human Behavior sates that personality is an organization of

characteristics that differentiate one individual from other individual.

  Personality is defined as the dynamic organization of characteristics attitudes leading to behavior and distinguishing one individual from other individual. it refers the total individual and includes needs, motives, methods of adjusting, temperament qualities, self concept, role behavior, attitudes, values, and abilities (1971: 52).


CHAPTER II THEORETICAL REVIEW A. Review of Related Studies The novel Native Son consists of three parts, they are Book One: Fear, Book Two: Flight, and Book Three: Fate. Book One reveals Bigger’s life from the beginning until his acquainted with the Daltons and ended with Mary’s murdering. Book Two describes Bigger’s life after murdering the Daltons daughter, Mary and his

  girlfriend Bessie until his capture. Book Three tells about Bigger’s struggle with his feeling to his self-consideration as a human being.

  Kazin in his book On Native Ground stated that Native Son which reveals the social significance happened in the American society began to be accepted as an important matter that can be concerned by the middle class society. Native Son is able to make people who read it feel a deep compassion or even solidarity toward the Negro oppression, but it does not happen in the reality.

  He vogue of such a novel as Richard Wright’s Native Son may suggest that the novel of social significance had at last entered into the thinking of the middle class, that the people who read it with bated breath or applauded it on the stage felt a deep compassion for, and even some solidarity with, the oppressed Negro masses; but that is an illusion (1982: 386). Walter Allen in his book Modern Novels states that Wright brought to violence consciousness the Negro assertion of himself, his refusal of any longer to be what the white man had cast him to be; and Native Son remains as the most powerful


  novel both of Negro assertion and of radical protest. For Wright -and much of the book’s power comes from this – they were different sides of the one coin (1964: 156).

  Another perception stated by Hughes that Native Son is a psychological novel of purpose. It protests against the conditions in which the Whites treat Negroes as a second class citizen and the racial discriminations which occur in the American society that force the Negro to struggle harder for their live (1953: 51).

  There is a research done by the previous researcher Deasy Setia Mayasari that discuss the character of Bigger Thomas. Mayasari discusses Bigger’s characters influenced by the author’s life. The analysis focuses on the autobiographical background of the author and the socio-historical background of the novel. Here, the writer also discusses the character but the difference is about the focus of the analysis. The writer focuses the analysis on the characteristic and the personality development of Bigger which is influenced by the minor characters in the story.

B. Review of Related Theories

  There are some theories that are used by the writer to analyze the novel. They are theory of character and characterization and theory of personality development.

1. Theory of Character and Characterization

  Character is an element of literary works that plays a significant role in building a story. Character describes a person with certain types and certain qualities.


  the character and characterization in dramatic or narrative work. The way characters speak, think and act show their emotional, person’s qualities of mind and moral qualities (1981: 23).

  According to Bracket in his book The Theatre: An Introduction, there are four

levels of characterization. The first level of characterization is the physical

appearance. It deals with the basic facts such as age, sex, size, and color. An author

can choose and decide any characters for his work. He may choose a man or a woman

with certain physical appearance such as height, weight, age and skin color. The

second level of characterization is the social status. It includes character’s economic

status profession or trade, religion and family relationship. The third level of

characterization is the psychological. It reveals a character’s habitual responses,

attitudes, likes and dislikes, desire, motivations, the inner working of mind, both

emotional and intellectual which precedes action. And the forth level of

characterization is the moral values the characters hold (1974: 39-40).

  Besides Bracket, in his book Literature for Composition, Barnet states some

points in understanding character. The first understanding can be obtained through

the character’s statement. What the character says or comments through the dialogue

among the characters may show his or her characteristic. The next point is through

the character’s deed. It means that the action done by the character may also indicate

his or her characteristic. The role of the other character is also significant in

understanding a character. The other character’s statement about the character is also



what the other characters do. The action of the other character may give a clue in

indicating an action that might be done by a character but he or she does not do. Here

the reader may observe what kind of person the character is (2005: 712).

  Murphy in his book Understanding Unseen classifies the way on how an author reveals the personalities of a character into nine ways (1972: 161-172).

  a. Personal Description The author describes the physical appearance of the character through the clothes, body, and face. The physical appearance can be used to specify and differentiate each character in the novel.

  b. Character as seen by another The author can also describe a character through another character’s point of view. The author can give some impression such as impression of color, shape, cleanliness, firmness and smoothness through the eyes of another character.

  c. Speech The author gives the reader an interpretation of one of the character in the book through what that person says. Here the author can give some clues in analyzing the character through character’s opinion and conversation.

  d. Past Life The author guides the reader to a deeper understanding by giving some clues about events in the person’s past life, which helped to shape of character’s thought, behavior and action.


  The author can also give us clues to a person’s character through the conversations of other people and the things they say about them (1972:167). Here, opinions or the things, which the other character says also, give some clues about the character.

  f. Reaction The reader can also have understanding on a character through the character’s reaction toward various situations such as events or problems. The various situations in the novel may give the reader a media to go deeper on understanding the character through the way the character face the problem and find the resolution.

  g. Direct Comment The author can describe or comment on a person’s character directly

  (1972:170). Here, the author can give explanation and description about the character directly and clearly.

  h. Thoughts The author guides the reader to understand the character’s thought or way of thinking. It is significant since every character is specific and it can be described from the character’s thought that will lead to actions. i. Mannerism

  The author can describe a person’s mannerisms or habits, which may also tell us something about his character (1972:173). The audience can learn closely the characteristics through the manner, habitual lifestyle, speech and behavior of the


2. Theories of Personality Development

  Pervin and John state that when people want to learn individual intensively,

they will have questions on some important points. The first point is they want to

know the person’s characteristics and behavior, and it includes his relation with one

another. The second point is the determinants of a person’s personality. It explains

the process how a person becomes in certain characteristics. The third point is the

reason for their behavior (1996: 4).

  According to Hurlock in her book Personality Development, the changes of

personality can be divided into three major categories. The first category is the

changes for the better or the worse. It reflects the kind of life adjustments that the

individual is making that time. The second category is the changes on quantitative or

qualitative. Quantitative means characteristics that already present are reinforced,

strengthened, or even weakened. While qualitative means a complete replacement of

a desirable trait by undesirable one or vice versa. The third category is the changes

occur slow or rapid. Changes are regarded slow if they are barely perceptible while

rapid changes are readily apparent to all. Normally, personality changes are slow and

gradual (1974: 120-122).

  The changes of personality are affected by several conditions. The most significant conditions for personality changes are:

a. Physical changes


  A physical change does not related to the changes of the structure of the body

but from maturation and decline or from illness, organic or glandular disturbance,

injuries or some other conditions of person’s life pattern (1974: 124-125).

  b. Changes in the environment The changes in either the physical or the social environment may produce

changes in the person’s self concepts and it will lead to the changes of person’s

behavior. But the changes in the environment do not guarantee there will be an

improvement in one’s personality. In fact, the changes often have the opposite effect.

  c. Changes in significant people When the significant people in an individual life’s change, and when he tries

to adapt his pattern of behavior and his attitudes, beliefs, values, and aspirations to

their, changes in his personality pattern are inevitable (1974: 126).

  d. Change in social pressures The strong social pressures such as traits of social rejection, aggressiveness,

and greediness have much possibility to encourage changes in certain aspects of

personality rather than the traits of admiration, affection, cooperativeness and


  e. Changes in roles The changes of one’s role may occur because of the changes of age, economic

conditions, and affiliation with a new group. When the result of the changes put the

person into a favorable status, it will usually change the self-concept of the person in


  f. Strong motivation People generally improve their pattern in order to get greater social

acceptance and also to improve their social relationship. When the motivation to

improve the personality pattern is strong enough, changes can be affected (1974:


  g. Changes in self concept The changes in the self-concept of one’s personality may change his entire

personality. However, the changing of self-concept is getting difficult when people

are getting older and usually the changes occur slowly and gradually.

  h. Psychotherapy Psychotherapy helps a person to get better insight into the reasons for his unrealistically favorable or unfavorable self-concept (1974: 129-130).

D. Theoretical Framework

  Since the topic is the contribution of the minor characters toward the development of the major character’s personality, the writer has been defined the terms, which have close relationship with the theme. Those are: character, influence and personality development.

  With the theory of character and characterization and the theory of personality

development, the writer is able to analyze the characteristics of the main character in

order to make the analysis understandable. It can be seen what kind of person the



it is important to see the main character thoroughly, which is Bigger, in order to

shape, provide and lead her to the matter pointed in the problem formulation of this



CHAPTER III METHODOLOGY A. Object of the Study The work that is analyzed in this thesis is Native Son, a novel written by Richard Wright, an African-American author who was born in Mississippi in 1908. The novel was first published by Harper & Brothers, New York in 1940. Native Son

  was the first novel by an African-American to be featured as a Main Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club. This novel has 430 pages and contains three parts; Fear, Flight, and Fate with an introduction by Arnold Rampersad and closed by a note on how “Bigger” was born by the author himself. The book also includes the chronology of Richard Wright’s life.

  Richard Wright had written some books, include Native Son, that describe


  about the racism occur in the 20 century American society. Native Son is talking about the life of Bigger, a poor, uneducated, twenty-year-old black man in 1930s Chicago. He lives in the black neighborhood that surrounded by the white society which still concerns about the issues of racism. Bigger is really afraid of the whites therefore he and his gang never attempted to rob a white man. They prefer to rob the black family who owns business. One day Bigger works for a white family The Daltons. Bigger finds a different treatment from this family, especially the daughter of the Daltons, Mary. But Bigger kills Mary accidentally in the night when he tries to


  help Mary goes to her room because she is too drunk to walk. Bigger never imagined if Mary’s death will be a beginning of his new life.

B. Approach of the Study

  In order to analyze the topic, the writer uses the psychological approach since it is very appropriate to be applied in finding the answer of the problem formulation stated in the first chapter. Before the writer goes further on the reason why this approach is appropriate, previously the writer needs to have a clear understanding on psychological approach.

  Psychological approach deals with human being in human context as literary does. Through this approach, the writer can understand the character’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. The writer can also reveal that a character’s thought, feelings and actions are affected by other characters. The psychological approach also helps the writer to reveal not only the extrinsic meaning but also the intrinsic meaning of a story. As Guerin stated in his book A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature, psychological approach is an excellent tool for ‘reading beneath the lines’ (1979: 121).

  According to Wellek and Warren, psychological approach shows its existence when Sigmund Freud’s idea influenced many literary works. Psychological critics observe works through the lens of psychology. They look either at the psychological motivations of the characters or the author themselves. Literature truthfully reflects


  psychological criticism may focus on the creative process of the artist or analyze fictional character’s motivation and behavior. It is obvious that literature and psychology are two different fields thatt influenced each other. Literature covers the application of the rule of psychology in a literary work (1977: 93).

  Using the psychological approach, the writer may analyze the character and his development through psychological aspects. It seems obvious that psychological traits take a significant role in making literary works life like since the psychological points of view refer to the search and analysis of the inner working of the mind such as emotions, behaviors, motivations, and desires. In other words, psychological traits always precede and color the action of a character (Benedetti, 1997: 130). Therefore the writer chose psychological approach as the appropriate approach to be applied in this thesis rather than the other approaches.

C. Method of the Study

  The method of the study that was conducted by the writer was library research. In this study, the writer acquired the information and data by collecting books and sources that was related to the study. The primary source of this study was a novel written by Richard Wright Native Son. Several references on American literature, books, selected criticism, biography, articles about Richard Wright’s work


  and the representation of the life of 20 century American society, and many other sources related to literature were also used as the secondary data. This thesis was an


  analytical study which was primarily attempt to cover up the intrinsic element of the novel, namely character.

  Since the writer was going to analyze the personality development in the novel, there were some phases that taken in analyzing the novel. First of all the writer had close reading to the novel and tried to understand the detail of it. After reading and understanding the detail of the novel, the second phase was trying to find out some references related to the theory of literature which was very helpful to analyze the characters’ characteristics. The next step was analyzing the influence of the minor character toward Bigger’s personality development.


CHAPTER IV ANALYSIS In this chapter the writer will apply the theories which have been written in

  the previous chapter into the problems that will be analyzed. Some theories about characters and characterization will help to reveal the characteristics of Bigger Thomas. Furthermore the theory of personality development will be used to analyze Bigger’s personality development which is influenced by the minor characters in the story.

  Here the writer focuses on the analysis into two matters, first is about Bigger’s characteristics and the second is about the influence of the minor characters toward Bigger’s personality development. Therefore, the writer divides the analysis into two main parts. The first main part will discuss the characteristics of Bigger Thomas and the second main part will discuss the minor characters who play significant role and give influence on Bigger’s personality development.

A. The Characteristics of Bigger Thomas

  The story begins with the clock rings in Bigger’s apartment in a side of Chicago. Bigger is a young black man who lives in a small apartment with his mother, sister and brother. The apartment has only one room therefore Bigger and his brother need to turn their back while his sister and mother are dressing up. Bigger


  From the personal description, the author describes Bigger Thomas as a twenty-year-old black man who lives in the black neighborhood in the south side of Chicago (p. 49). Bigger is about five feet nine inches tall, his arms are long, his shoulder are huge and muscular (p. 280). His skin is exceedingly black therefore his face was metallically black in the strong sunlight (p. 17). The theory of Abrams in 1981 said that the reader can get an interpretation of a character in the story from his physical appearance, emotional and moral qualities. Here the writer can draw the characteristics of Bigger through his physical appearance. Therefore the theory of Abrams that stated a character can be interpreted through his physical appearance is verified. The other characteristics of Bigger Thomas are characterized this way:

1. Uneducated

  As ordinary black family at that time, the condition of Bigger’s family does not give him any chance to finish his study. Bigger’s family has to struggle hard for their life. They have to work very hard to fulfill their daily need therefore education is not their priority in life. That is why Bigger does not finish his study, he only reaches until the eighth grade.

  “How far did you go in school?” “To the eighth grade.” (p. 74) Since Bigger does not finish his study, Bigger gets less of academic education and knowledge. It can be seen when Bigger meets Mr. Dalton for job interview in the

  Daltons’ house. Mr. Dalton is interviewing Bigger when suddenly Mary interrupts. She asks whether Bigger belongs to a Union or not. Mr. Dalton does not like Mary’s


  question and asks her to talk to Bigger later. He asks Mary to leave Bigger alone. Mary insults with his father’s order and said that his father is a Capitalist. Mary tries to get Bigger into this conversation by asking whether her father is a Capitalist.

  Bigger does not answer Mary’s question. It is not because Bigger is afraid but because Bigger does not know what Mary is talking about. Bigger does not know what Capitalist is.

  “All right, Mr. Capitalist!” She turned again to Bigger. “Isn’t he a capitalist, Bigger?” Bigger looked at the floor and did not answer. He did not know what a capitalist was. (p. 52) Bigger’s lack of education makes him poor of knowledge therefore he can not follow their way of thinking. It happens also when Mary and Jan are having conversation about the Union, the organization where Jan is involved. Jan and Mary discuss the demonstration that the Union has just held. Bigger listens; he tries to understand what Mary and Jan are discussed. Bigger knows that they talk about Communism and he tries to get an understanding. But at the end of the conversation, Bigger still cannot understand the conversation well (p. 76).

  Sometimes Bigger feels that he is fool when he cannot understand what the other characters discuss. But in fact, the writer finds that Bigger does not like to go to school. The writer finds the scene when Bigger is having a conversation with Peggy, The Daltons’ house maid. Peggy says that Mr. Dalton may send Bigger to a night school as he does to the former black boy worker. But Bigger does not seem to be


  interested in Peggy’s information. Bigger says to himself that night school is not a bad idea but he will not take that opportunity because he has another plan (p. 62).

  Bigger’s response toward Mary’s question proves that Bigger is unwell educated. According to Barnet, the understanding of a character can be obtained through the character’s deed.

2. Rude

  At the beginning of the story Bigger is often quarrelling with his mother. The condition happens since Bigger, as the first son of his family, has not got any job.

  Therefore he cannot help his family to release from their poverty. It makes his mother blames him for this condition.

  “We wouldn’t have to live in this garbage dump if you had any manhood in you,” she said. “Aw, don’t start that again.” (p. 8) Since his mother is often mad with him, Bigger often shows some rude sentences toward his mother. He hates his life because it does not give him any chance to make a choice. He grows as a rude young man who is easily insulted by people’s opinion and attitude toward him, as what he feels about his mother. It happens almost everyday when he hears his mother complaining about their family condition, and it is also because Bigger does not attempt to fix this condition.

  “Bigger, sometimes I wonder why I birthed you,” she said bitterly. Bigger looked at her and turned away. “Maybe you oughtn’t ‘ve. Maybe you ought to left me where I was.” “You shut your sassy mouth!” “Aw, for Chrissakes!” Bigger said, lighting a cigarette. (p.8)


  Bigger knows that his mother hates him not only because what she says about him but also because of her wish to should not birth him. Bigger realize that his mother does not have any intension to hurt his feeling. It happens just because she feels so sad and disappoint with the condition of their family. She just needs Bigger to help them out from this condition. But sometimes Bigger gets angry because he is tired of hearing his mother’s complaints toward him almost every day. Therefore he often speaks rudely to his mother.

  Bigger’s rudeness not only happens toward his mother but also his sister, Vera. As what happens in their small apartment when all of the family gather inside.

  Bigger and his brother, Buddy, are facing against the wall while Mrs. Thomas and Vera are dressing up. Suddenly they pause since they are attracted by the big rat which is passing through the room. At the moment the room is so quiet but the next moment the room begins so noisy. Mrs. Thomas and Vera yell, they forget that they are not dressed up completely. At the same time, Bigger and Buddy are busy looking for the rat. Bigger sees that the rat hides in a small hole on the wall. Then Bigger asks his brother to put a wooden trunk in front of the hole so that the rat will get trapped when he tries to get out from the hole. Bigger is right, the rat is successfully trapped in the trunk. Bigger wants to make sure that the rat dies after it is kicked with a full power. After Bigger is sure that the rat dies, he comes close to the rat. Vera screams and begs Bigger to take out the rat. She is afraid and does not want to see it.

  “Bigger, take ‘im out,’ Vera begged again. Bigger laughed and approached the bed with the dangling rat, swinging it to


  Bigger hears that his sister are begging and sobbing but he does not listen to her. On the other hand, he holds the dead rat on his hand and laughs at his sister who is so afraid. He seems enjoying his sister’s fear. Moreover he gets close to his sister and swings the rat in front of her like a pendulum. Bigger keeps doing that until Vera suddenly faints.

  The same rudeness happens to Gus, one of Bigger’s friends in his gank. Bigger and his gank, Gus, Jack and G.H., are in the poolroom, a place where they usually spend their money. Bigger is talking about a robbery. Bigger plans to rob The Blums, one of the wealthy white families in his neighborhood. He needs his friend’s support but they keep silent. They seem to be unsure with Bigger’s plan. Bigger is angry knowing that his friends do not give any responses to him. Bigger then yells asking somebody to say something. Then Jack says that he will join and G.H. says that he will join if Gus does. They are waiting for Gus’ answer but he does not give any responses. Moreover Gus is going to leave. Bigger is very angry then he is yelling to Gus with offensive statement. Bigger is forcing Gus to say something unless he is indeed afraid to join in the robbery.

  “You don’t have to cuss me,” Gus said. “Then why don’t you use that black tongue of yours?” Bigger asked. “Why don’t you say what you going to do?” “I don’t have to use my tongue unless I want to!” “You bastard! You scared bastard!” “You aint my boss,” Gus said.

  “You yellow!” Bigger said. “You scared to rob a white man. (p. 26) Gus finally answers that he will join the robbery. They fix the plan to have the


  where they usually meet. Jack and G.H. already come, only Gus who does not come yet. Gus is late and Bigger gets angry with Gus. When Gus finally comes, Bigger laughs softly at the beginning then louder and hysterically until Gus feels that Bigger is trying to hit him. The conversation is getting harder. Bigger is so emotional that he almost makes Gus gets injured. Bigger almost stabs Gus with a knife he has been brought. Gus is lying down on the floor with Bigger’s tightening hold his collar.

  Bigger cannot control his temper and he says that he will kill Gus. Gus might be injured if Bigger’s friends do not split them.

  “Get up! I ain’t going to ask you no more!” Slowly, Gus stood. Bigger held the open blade an inch from Gus’ lips. “Lick it,” Bigger said, his body tingling with elation. Gus’ eyes filled with tears. “Lick it, I said!” you think I’m playing?” (p. 39) Gus gets up and stands so close in front of Bigger. Bigger does a very rude thing then. He asks Gus to lick the blade. Gus is very afraid. He looks around but no one in this room moves to help him. Gus’s tears are almost falling from his eyes when he sees Bigger’s fist is lifting to strike. Gus is afraid that Bigger will truly kill him with that knife. Slowly, Gus moves toward the blade and he touches the blade with his tongue. Gus’ lips are trembling and he can not hold on tears which already streamed down his cheek.

  Here the writer found that Bigger’s characteristic can be seen from Bigger’s own statement, what his mother says and what he does toward his sister. Therefore the first, second and the third point of Barnet’s theory that stated an understanding of


  a character can be drawn from the character’s statement, the character’s deed and the other character’s statement is verified.

3. Cowardly

  Bigger is not a well-mannered man. He often speaks and behaves rudely. But deep inside, Bigger is actually a coward. He acts rudely only to cover his fear so that people will not know about it. As what happens when Bigger and his gank have a plan to rob The Blums. It is the first time they plan to rob a white family. Bigger is asking one of his friends, Gus, to join the robbery.

  “Aw, I was just asking you, do you want to try it?” “Naw.” “How come? You scared ‘cause he’s a white man?” “Naw. But Blum keeps a gun. Suppose he beat us to it?” “Aw, you scared; that’s all. He’s a white man and you scared.” “The hell I’m scared,” Gus, hurt and stung, defended himself. (p. 23) Bigger is afraid of robbing a white man and he knows that Gus is afraid, too

  (p. 25). Bigger hates Gus because he knows that Gus is afraid and Bigger feels that Gus knows that Bigger is as afraid as Gus. But Bigger feels that there is still a chance that Gus will do the robbery if Bigger does not do something. Therefore Bigger tries to make Gus insults so that there will be a quarrelling between them and the robbery is forgotten. Bigger said that Gus is scared, but actually Bigger is trying to cover his fear. Bigger’s statement about Gus is actually reflection of his own fear. Bigger is very afraid if the robbery is truly happened therefore he uses Gus’ refusal as a way to cover it.

  … Even though Bigger had asked Gus to be with him in the robbery, the fear


  was hot all over. He felt as if he wanted to sneeze and could not; only it was more nervous than wanting to sneeze. He grew hotter, tighter; his nerves were taut and his teeth were on edge. He felt that something would soon snap him. (p. 25) The same fact happens when Bigger goes to The Daltons’ house for job interview. He comes to the white neighborhood and feels the difference between what he sees in the movie and the reality he faces now. The neighborhood is not as mysterious as he sees in the movie. The houses he passes are huge with the lights glow softly in the windows. The street that he walks through is empty. Bigger feels that it is a cold and distant world. This is world where all the white secrets are suspiciously guarded. Bigger can feel the different atmosphere in this neighborhood. He can feel a pride, a certainty, and a confidence when he walks through the street and houses in this white neighborhood. Then he arrives to the Drexel Boulevard, where The Daltons live. Bigger then stops in front of a high black iron picket fence. He looses all of his eager and braveness but only fear and emptiness filled him now (p. 44).

  He could feel a pride, a certainty, and a confidence in this streets and houses. He came to Drexel Boulevard and began to look or 4605. When he came to it, he stopped and stood before a high, black, iron picket fence, feeling constricted inside. All he had felt in the movie was gone; only fear and emptiness filled him now. (p. 44) Bigger is afraid to go inside. He thinks of many things. He begins to confuse, how he should go through the house. He is wondering whether he should come from the front or the back of the house, as the black usually do when they enter the whites’


  house. Then Bigger regrets for coming into this house. He feels so foolish and silly for thinking that he might like this job.

  Bigger hesitantly opens the gate and walks into the door. He sees a doorbell and finally decides to push it. Nervously, Bigger waits for somebody to open the door. He tries to relax his taut muscles and stands at ease, while he is waiting for response from this house. Slowly, the doorknob turns and somebody appears. A white woman opens the door and asks Bigger whether he has an appointment with somebody in this house. Then Bigger answers that Mr. Dalton asks him to come to his house today. The white woman, Peggy, then asks Bigger to come into the house. She says that Mr. Dalton already waits for him.

  Bigger enters The Daltons’ house following Peggy who is walking before him. Bigger walks over a soft rug as if he were going to fall at each step he took.

  They stop in a room and Peggy asks Bigger to have a seat while she is calling for Mr. Dalton. Bigger then sits in a chair but he feels that the position is not comfortable since he sits in the edge of the chair. He rises from the seat, trying to sit farther back but he drop down suddenly. Even he thinks that the chair drops above him. Bigger is afraid if somebody sees him. He tries to stand up when unexpectedly he drops again.

  ….. He rose slightly to sit farther back; but when he sat he sank down so suddenly and deeply that he thought the chair had collapsed under him. He bounded halfway up, in fear; then, realizing what had happened, he sank distrustfully down again… (p. 45) Bigger is looking around the room, expecting that nobody will see him. The room is silent and he can only see the dim light glowing from the hidden source.


  Bigger feels very strange with this room. He does not like to be in this room. Bigger feels insecure in this room. He never imagines that he will find this kind of world before. Bigger never thinks that the world he faces now is very different with his world. He feels intimidated by his surrounding. It is a very uncomfortable situation.

  According to Murphy a character’s characterization can be drawn from several points and two of them are through the character’s thoughts and mannerism.

  Here Bigger shows his act of cowardice through his manner toward his friend Gus and through his attitude when he has to enter The Daltons’ house. Therefore the theory of Murphy is proper for this analysis.

4. Easy to get panic

  Bigger first duty for The Dalton is driving Mary to her university. But Mary does not want to go to the university unless he asks Bigger to drive her to the Loop, the name of the place where she usually meets her friends. Mary meets Jan, her boyfriend and introduces him to Bigger. They go hang out to the black restaurant and get very drunk. When Bigger drives Mary home; he finds that Mary is so drunk that she can not walk to her room by herself. Therefore Bigger helps Mary to enter her bedroom. Bigger lays Mary on the bed. Eventually Bigger sexually arouse by Mary’s charms. Bigger then kisses Mary and holds her breast. Bigger feels Mary mumbles sleepily. Bigger tightens his fingers on her breast and kissing her again. Suddenly Bigger sees a white blur is standing by the door. Bigger is hysterically scared. But when he tries to fill his eyes and looks again, he finds that it is Mrs. Dalton who is


  Mrs. Dalton calls Mary and comes closer to the bed. Bigger gets panic, he is afraid if Mrs. Dalton can feel that there is somebody else in Mary’s room. Bigger is holding his breath. Bigger knows that Mrs. Dalton will not see him but if Mary speaks, Mrs. Dalton will get closer to the bed and know that there is someone else in the bed. Bigger waits silently, he is afraid to move. Mrs. Dalton calls Mary again and Bigger feels that Mary is trying to rise. Quickly he pushes Mary’s head back to the pillow. Mrs. Dalton thinks that Mary sleeps already since she does not hear any answer. Bigger wants to move from the bed but he is too afraid to do that. He covers his mouth with his hands. Bigger’s head raises at a position where he can see Mary and her mother. Suddenly Bigger feels that Mary mumbles and tries to rise again. Bigger gets panic and unconsciously he catches a pillow and brings it to Mary’s face. Bigger is trying to keeps Mary silence so that Mrs. Dalton will not curious. Bigger does not realize that he kills Mary at that time.

  ….. Frenzy dominated him. He held his hand over his mouth and his head was cock at an angle that enabled him to see Mary and Mrs. Dalton by merely shifting his eyes. Mary mumbled and tried to rise again. Frantically, he caught a corner of the pillow and brought it to her lips…. (p. 85) According to Murphy, the reader can understand the characteristic of a character by the reaction toward various situations such as events or problem. In this analysis, Bigger’s panicky puts him into a problem that he never thinks before. Here the writer finds that the theory of Murphy is applicable to this analysis. Therefore Murphy’s theory is proven.


5. Lack of Self Confidence

  The racial discrimination issue which occurs in the story has a big influence toward the characteristics of Bigger. Bigger grows into a young man who is very sensitive and has lack of self confidence, especially when he has to deal with the whites. In Bigger’s point of view the white is a big forces that may destroy him. It happens when he meets Mr. Dalton, and Jan for the first time. When Bigger meets Mr. Dalton and has interview with him, he does not look into Mr. Dalton’s eyes. He blames his head facing the floor. Although Bigger;s mother said to him not to look at the floor when talking with them. Bigger still cannot do that. Once he tries to lift his eyes and sees Mr. Dalton is watching him closely, he drops his eyes again. He does not have enough strength to raise his confidence to look at Mr. Dalton (p. 49).

  The same situation happens when Bigger meets Jan for the first time. Jan is an activist of The Union, an organization which struggle for the existence of the black.

  Mary introduces Jan to Bigger. Jan seems to be excited to meet Bigger. At their first meeting Jan is welcoming Bigger with a warm greet. Jan smiles broadly and extends an open palm toward him. Bigger feels strange with Jan’s attitude since in his point of view the white is something that may destroy him. But Bigger feels that Jan is different. Jan is talking about equality between the whites and the blacks. Jan refuses to be called ‘Sir’ as what Bigger usually does to the whites. Jan uses the term ‘us’ for Mary, Jan, and Bigger. Jan wants to show that they are equal and there is no black and white because they are just the same as human being.


  Bigger does not say anything. He tries to focus on another thing and avoid Jan’s gaze. Bigger is still trying to understand what has happened to him. Mary supports Jan by saying that Jan is serious with his statement. Mary says that Jan “means” it. Bigger starts to have a kind of secure feeling with Mary and Jan. But his warm feeling suddenly disappears when he hears Mary is laughing softly. Bigger’s feeling flushed with anger. Bigger swears at Mary, ‘Goddamn her soul to hell!’ (p. 66).

  Bigger feels that Mary is laughing at him. He begins questioning about Mary and Jan and what they want from him actually. Bigger never bothers them and he does not have any problem with them. Bigger then thinks he is so foolish by thinking that the Jan and Mary really accept him as human being. Mary’s laugh destroys Bigger’s confidence. Bigger then thinks that Jan and Mary are playing with him. They just want to show to Bigger that Bigger is indeed a black man and they want to show it by standing in front of Bigger and looking at him, one holding his hand and the other smiling. Bigger feels so down and loses all his confidence at once.

  … He felt he had no physical existence at all right then; he was something he hated, the badge of shame which he knew was attached to a black skin. It was a shadowy region, a No Man’s Land, the ground that separated the white world from the black that he stood upon. (p. 67) Bigger’s sensitivity frequently leads him to be lack of confidence. Bigger feels naked and transparent, the feeling that Bigger already has before he meets Jan and Mary. And they successfully helps to put Bigger down and makes Bigger understand his position that he is black. Bigger really hates Mary and Jan but he can


  not say his feeling. At that moment Bigger feels toward Mary and Jan a dumb, cold, and inarticulate hate (p. 67).

  The writer finds that Bigger has lack of self confidence. Bigger is easy to be insulted with people’s gesture and saying. Bigger’s sensitivity often destroys his self esteem and put him into condition when he is lack of self confidence. Here the writer can draw Bigger’s characteristic through his thought about Jan and Mary. Therefore the eighth point of Murphy’s theory which stated that a characteristic can be drawn from their thoughts or way of thinking is proven.

6. Narrow-minded

  Bigger often thinks negatively to people, especially toward the whites. He thinks that something related with the whites means problem. Bigger’s sensitivity not only makes him to lose his self confidence but also makes him to be narrow-minded. In the middle of the interview Mr. Dalton tells Bigger that he wants to talk a little with Bigger. Bigger is little bit bothered about it. Bigger thinks that Mr. Dalton will ask him about the auto tires stealing that puts Bigger into jail. Bigger regrets that he comes to The Daltons’ house. He thinks that he should not come because he knows that this question will be asked toward him.

  “Now, Bigger, I’d like to talk with you a little…” Yes, Goddammit! He knew what was coming. He would be asked about that time he had been accused of stealing auto tires and had been sent to the reform school. He felt guilty, condemned. He should not have come there. (49) Bigger tries to ensure Mr. Dalton that he does not do the stealing. Bigger is punished for something he does not do. Mr. Dalton can accept Bigger’s explanation.


  Bigger then feels a little release on his mind. But other thing comes when Mary suddenly interrupts their interview. Mary is talking about Union and Bigger hates her because he has just made Mr. Dalton trusts him and Mary destroys it. He feels that he might lose his chance to get a job because of Mary’s question. Bigger feels that Mr.

  Dalton will not trust him.

  In his heart he cursed the crazy girl. Maybe Mr. Dalton was deciding not to hire him? Goddamn! Maybe he would not get the extra five dollars a week now? Goddamn that woman! She spoiled everything! Maybe Mr. Dalton would feel that he could not trust him. (p. 53) Fortunately, Mr. Dalton still gives the job to Bigger. Then Mr. Dalton asks

  Peggy to take Bigger to his room and to introduce his duty. Peggy is a kind woman and she treats Bigger nicely. Peggy takes Bigger to see the house and his room during he works for the Daltons. There is a moment Bigger sees that Peggy is staring at him. At once, a bad thought runs on Bigger’s mind. He thinks that Peggy is kind to him only because she needs his help. In Bigger’s opinion, perhaps Peggy needs Bigger to do her work so she does not need to work too hard since there is Bigger who will do her job.

  Peggy seemed kind enough, but maybe she was being kind in order to shove her part of the work on him. Well, he would wait and see. If she got nasty, he would talk to Mr. Dalton about her… (p. 54) Bigger’s narrow minded often leads him to be prejudice, especially toward the whites. It is clearly seen after he accidentally kills Mary. Bigger thinks although he says that he kills Mary accidentally, people will accuse him killing Mary. It is because Bigger is a black man. Therefore Bigger never tries to make any self defense


  that he does not mean to kill Mary since he knows that it will not give any differences to him. People will still accuse him a killer.

  Though he had killed by accident, not once did he feel the need to tell himself that it had been an accident. He was black and he had been alone in a room where a white girl had been killed; therefore he had killed her. That was what everybody would say anyhow, no matter what he said. (p. 106) The writer finds that Bigger’s way of thinking is so narrow, mostly with the whites. It is because of what he already gets through his life. Bigger learns from his experience that to be black means to be the second people. They do not have the right to speak and to show their existence. This explanation shows that Bigger’s characteristics naturally shape because of his past life. Therefore the forth point of Murphy’s theory about character that is influence by the past life is applicable to put in this analysis.


B. The Influence of the Minor Characters toward Bigger’s Personality


  Pervin and John state that when the readers want to learn about the character intensively, they need to know the characteristics and behavior of the character, the process how a character becomes in certain characteristics and the reasons for their behavior (1996: 4). The first problem formulation about Bigger’s characteristic has been answered in the previous analysis. In this section the writer will explain the process how a character becomes in a certain characteristics and the determinants that influence the characteristics.


  According to Hurlock the changes of personality are affected by several conditions. One of the conditions is the changes of the environment. Since the writer focuses the analysis on the minor characters’ influence on Bigger characteristics, the determinants of Bigger’s personality changes are the minor characters who live around his environment.. Those characters play a significant role in Bigger’s personality development.

  The first character who plays a significant role in Bigger’s personality development is Mary Dalton, the daughter of Bigger’s employer Mr. Dalton. Bigger’s first impression on Mary is negative since he thinks that Mary will put him into trouble by talking about the Union, communist organization which concerns on the livings of the blacks. On his first day of work, Mary shows Bigger a different attitude as Bigger usually gets when he deals with the whites. Mary speaks as if Bigger is not a black man. She speaks in ordinary way as the whites usually speak to their people. Bigger thinks that Mary is crazy. Mary says that she is on his side and Bigger gets confuse on what Mary means actually. Bigger is wondering whether Mary’s statement means that she likes the colored people or she means to say something else.

  “I think I can trust you.” “Yessum.” “After all, I’m on your side.” Now what did that mean? She was on his side. What side was he on? Did she mean that she liked colored people? Well, he had heard that about her whole family. Was she really crazy? How much did her folks know of how she acted? But if she really crazy, why did Mr. Dalton let him drive her out? (p.



  Mary then asks Bigger to drive her to 16 Lake Street. Mary says to Bigger that she is going to meet a friend of hers who is also a friend of Bigger. Bigger is confused since she knows that it is his first meeting with Mary and he does not know anything about her. Bigger gets the answer of his question when he meets Jan. Bigger finds that the person Mary means as ‘our’ friend is Jan. Jan is Mary’s boyfriend who works for the Union. He is a white man who concerns on the livings of the blacks as well as Mary do. Here Mary states clearly that she considers Bigger equal to her. She treats Bigger as a human without any consideration on his skin color. Mary’s view against racism shows to Bigger a new point of view of the whites. For the first time in his life Bigger feels that he, as a black man, still has the chance to have the right to be equal to the whites. Bigger feels that Mary understands him.

  Mary’s influence on Bigger’s personality development occurs not only when Mary is alive but also when she dies already. Moreover Mary’s murder becomes a significant turning point of Bigger’s life. Through Mary’s death, Bigger feels that he finally can do something for his life. He feels that the murder is meant to be happened and all of his life has leaded him to something like this, which is Mary murder.

  Bigger begins to be pride of himself, a feeling that he never has before. He does not regret of the murder, besides he feels proud of it.

  ….. It was no longer a matter of dumb wonder as to what would happen to him and his black skin; he knew now. The hidden meaning of his life – a meaning which others did not see and which he had always tried to hide – had spilled out. No; it was no accident, and he would never say that it was. There was in him a kind of terrified pride in feeling and thinking that someday he would be able to say publicly that he had done it. (p. 106)


  Bigger feels that things become clear after the murder. He knows what he is going to do now and how he should act. Bigger feels that he is reborn into a new person. He is so proud since he feels that all the whites are blind. They will never imagine and think that a black man like him will be brave enough to kill a white girl (p. 107). Bigger’s fears and hates toward the whites are replaced with the feeling of pride and confidence.

  Bigger then realize if his family and him are passing their life without any consideration upon the life itself. They are just making living without thinking, doing the things based on their folks, making for peace and habit, and making for hopes that are blind. They do not know there is another side of the world they never think about before. Bigger now can see that his family as well as the white is blind. And since he knows that they are blind while they do not know if they are, he can get what he wants and never been caught. Bigger feels that he can control himself and he has his own authority now. Bigger wants to show his existence to his brother and his friends.

  He gives money to his brother and his friends, things that Bigger can not do before. He wants to show them that he can do that now.

  Mary’s murder gives great effects on Bigger’s character. As the writer learns from the novel, Bigger is afraid of the whites. He always tries to avoid dealing with them since dealing with the whites mean problem to him. Even it happens when Bigger is walking through the street near the white neighborhood. He always feels that the white must think that he will do some criminal things on their neighborhood.


  through the street. “It was the first time he had ever been in their presence without feeling fearful” (p. 113). Bigger feels that he plays the same role with other people now.

  Mary’s presence gives Bigger a new understanding of the whites but at the same time her actions evoke fear and shame in him. Bigger does not know where the feeling comes from. He just knows that his fear and shame has risen harder when he is in contact with her. The writer found that Mary’s treatment toward Bigger sometimes makes him feels that he is fool. Mary’s attitude and behavior that shows how she really cares about the equality and against racism makes Bigger believes that there is still a hope for him and his people to get their existence. Then the next time Bigger feels that he is foolish by trusting Mary and hoping that it will truly happen.

  And after Mary’s murder Bigger feels so release.

  It was not Mary he was reacting to when he felt that fear and shame. Mary had served to set off his emotions, emotions conditioned by many Marys. And now that he had killed Mary he felt lessening of tension in his muscles; he had shed an invisible burden he had long carried. (p. 114) Bigger then finds an inspiration on what he should do in the future to dismiss all the fear and shame that he uses to feel. Bigger thinks that one way to end the fear and shame of his people is by united his people to act together.

  As he rode, looking at the back people on the sidewalks, he felt that one way to end fear and shame was to make all those black people all together, rule them, tell them what to do, and make them do it. Dimly, he felt that there should be one direction in which he and all other black people could go whole heartedly, that there should be a way in which gnawing hunger and restless aspiration could be fused… (p. 115)


  The next character which influenced Bigger’s character is Hammond, the preacher of the Thomas family church. Bigger’s captured creates a vast fear for Bigger himself. Bigger’s fear of being useless and worthless arises and removes his self confidence. Bigger is tapped into deep depression until the coming of Hammond.

  Hammond speaks to Bigger and tries to give an understanding why Bigger should be in jail. He asks Bigger to release his heart from hate and let God enters his heart (p.

  282). Bigger gets the meaning of what Hammond means and it gives him a little comfort feeling after what he has experienced so far.

  Hammond says about the murder Bigger has done and what Bigger should do to erase his sin. He talks about hope and love beyond life. He says that Bigger may forget everything he already done but he can never forget his own soul. Hammond asks Bigger to forget the bad things he has been through and finds again his soul.

  “Fergit ever’thing but yo’ soul, son. Take yo’ mind off ever’thing but eternal life. Fergit whut the newspaper say. Fergit yuh’s black. Gawd looks past yo’ skin ‘n inter yo’ soul, son. He’s lookin’ at the only parta yuh tha’s

  His . He wants yuh ‘n’ He loves yuh. Give yo’se’ft’ ‘Im, son. Lissen, lemme tell yuh why yuh’s here; lemme teel yuh a story tha’ll make yo’ heart glad. (p.

  283) Hammond gives Bigger a wooden cross. He hangs it around Bigger’s neck.

  He says that the wooden cross is a symbol of God that will enter Bigger’s soul if he can ease all hates and let God enter his soul. He says that God has sacrificed his life through this cross in order to save human beings. He tells Bigger if Bigger feels alone and gets a sense of fear, he can look at this cross and believes that God will help and everything will be alright (p. 286). Bigger does not pay full attention on Hammond’s


  speech to him. But he gets the meaning of it. Hammond speech gives, at least, a little comfort feeling toward Bigger. It is a feeling of a hope that he still can achieve although he has done murders.

  The next character that influences Bigger’s personality development is Jan. As stated above, Jan is Mary’s boyfriend who works for The Union. Bigger’s first meeting with Jan leaves a feeling of equality but at once a feeling of being humiliated. The same feeling Bigger has toward Mary on their first meeting. But Bigger gets a new understanding when Jan meets him in the jail after he arrested. Jan says to Bigger that he is not angry; meanwhile he comes to the jail to help Bigger out of this problem. Moreover Jan says that the things happened because of his fault. He should have known that in the night he wants to drinks together along with Bigger, he makes mistakes by insisting Bigger to bring them to the black restaurant.

  “ … Well, you jarred me… I see now. I was kind of blind. I—I just wanted to come here and tell you that I’m not angry…. I’m not angry and I want you to let me help you. I don’t hate you for trying to blame this thing on me…. Maybe you had good reasons…. I don’t know. And maybe in a certain sense, I’m the one who’s really guilty….” (p. 287) Jan says that he never does something against Bigger and his people. But in fact, Jan is a white man and he can not force Bigger not to hate him as what Bigger feels of the whites toward him. Jan says that he goes to the jail because he wants to live up to the murder as he sees it. And Jan says to Bigger that it is not easy for him to come to the jail and facing the man who killed the woman he loves. But Jan says that when he thinks about Mary’s murder then he thinks about all the black men who have


  people are snatched from them in the slavery. Jan says to Bigger if these people can do that, then Jan ought to (p. 288).

  Jan’s acceptance on Mary’s murder gets Bigger into a deep guilty feeling. And the guilty feeling becomes deeper when Bigger knows that Jan comes to the jail in order to tell him that he is not angry and wants to help him. Moreover Jan asks his friend lawyer who works for the Labor Defender to help Bigger and defense him on the Court. Bigger still cannot believe that there are people who do believe in him and want to help him.

  Even in the court Jan testimonies that he believes that all races are equal. And when the court asks Jan about the reason why Jan leaves Mary in a car with a drunken Negro in the night she is murdered, Jan answers that he is not aware that Bigger is drunk and he does not consider Mary as being unprotected (p. 319). Through Jan testimonies in the court, Bigger feels that Jan believes in him and he sees Jan’s honesty and sincerity. For the first time in his life Bigger sees a white man as an individual human being.

  The next character that influences Bigger’ personality is Max, a lawyer that is sent by Jan to defense for him in the court. Max defenses Bigger in the court as well as Jan does. Bigger finds from Max’ defenses in the court that he can understand him. Bigger feels that Max tries to show to the people what truly happens in the society. As when Max asks Mr. Dalton why he charges The Thomas family and other Negro families more for the rent of the same kind of houses than he charges the whites (p.


  make everything clear for the people that there is injustice treatment toward the blacks.

  Another question that Max gives to Mr. Dalton is about the refusal of Mr. Dalton to rent the houses for Negro if those houses are in other sections of the city. Mr. Dalton says that he thinks Negro will be happier if they live with their people (p. 327). Max keeps asking about the matter of injustice treatment toward the blacks in the society. Here Bigger feels that he is finally feeling understood. Therefore he begins to open to Max. He tells Max that he does not rape Mary as what the people accused him. But nobody trusts him (p. 349). Bigger says that he kills Mary accidentally. He kills her because he is scared and mad (p. 354). Bigger tells Max if Mary’s behavior frightened and shamed him. Bigger tells Max about his feeling toward the whites who never give his people a chance to do what they want.

  Here Bigger is being honest to tell Max what truly happens to him. It never happens before since Bigger hates the whites, he avoids dealing with the whites. But Max gives Bigger a secure feeling that makes Bigger eager to speak to him. Although Bigger knows that he does not have much chance to win the case but still he trusts Max to speak for him. He feels a secure feeling toward Max. Therefore Bigger asks Max where he sits to make sure that he will sit near Bigger in the court (p. 366).

  Bigger learns that Max defense her truly as a sane man. Max does not accuse Bigger insane so that the court will give apology for him. Bigger learns that Max speaks for him as equal human being who has the rights to be free to choose and to


  live (p. 375-378). Here Bigger feels that Max acknowledge his life. Max’s speech gives Bigger a new way of seeing his life.

  …. With this new sense of the value of himself gained from Max’s talk, a sense fleeting and obscure, he tried to feel that if Max had been able to see the man in him beneath those wild and cruel acts of his, acts of fear and hate and murder and fight and despair, then he too would hate, if he were they, just as now he was hating them and they were hating him. For the first time in his life he felt ground beneath his feet, and he wanted to stay there. (p. 361) Bigger wants to live now. He wants to know more about his life. He wants to live in order to find out whether what he feels about Max’s speech is true and he wants to feel it deeply. Bigger says to himself if he has to die, he wants to die within this feeling. He feels that he will have complete life when he dies with fully feeling it.

  But it is already late now. Realizing that he will not live longer, Bigger feels a kind of feeling burst in his mind. He does not want to die. He wants his life back. He wants to live.

  He lifted his hands to his face and touched his trembling lips. Naw…. Naw… He ran to the door and caught the cold steel bars in his hot hands and gripped them tightly, holding himself erect. His face rested against the bars and he felt ears roll down his cheeks. His wet lips tasted salt. He sank to his knees and sobbed: “I don’t want to die…. I don’t want to die….” (p. 363) Max’s last speech in the court explains about the case of Bigger that in fact represents the life of American society at that time. Max states that Bigger is just one example of many people in the society who do not have any choices to get their confession on their existence in life. Max argues if he speaks in the court for Bigger and asks the audience to look deeper to what truly happens to Bigger. He says that he pays a great sympathy to Mary for her struggle to show Bigger the equality of blacks


  and whites. And Max is standing in the court in order to give Mary’s death a meaning, so that she will not die in vain.

  “And to Mrs. Dalton, I say: ‘Your philanthropy was as tragically blind as your sightless eyes!’ “And to Mary Dalton, if she can hear me, I say: ‘I stand here today trying to make your death mean something! (p. 393)

  Bigger starts to have hopes and has an eager to see more things in this world. Bigger feels that Max treats him as a man although Bigger has murdered two women. Max says that Bigger is a human therefore he always sees the world as a place where “there is no whites and no blacks, no civilized and no savaged” (p. 424). Max seems to underline his statement that means there is not any difference between his people and Bigger’s people. They are human and they have the same rights to live and to decide something for their life.

  Max says that through the murder, Bigger at least finds himself. He does an action that finally means something although he has to pay it with his life (p. 427).

  Here Max gives Bigger a new understanding on the way he thinks about his life. Bigger learns to understand although he has to give up his life, at least he dies free since he believes in himself.

  Hurlock states that the changes of personality might also happen because of the changes in the self concepts. Here, the writer found that the influences of the minor characters change Bigger’s point of view and thought and it leads him to have a change on his life concepts. He finally finds that his life means something. He deserves to live as a human. .


CHAPTER V CONCLUSION This chapter sums up all the problems mentioned in the analysis and the result

  of the research. Here, the writer has found the answer to all the problem formulations mentioned in the first chapter. By making an analysis on Bigger as the main character and on Mrs. Thomas, Mary Dalton, Jan Erlone, Boris A. Max, and Reverend Hammond as the other main character, the writer can draw a conclusion on the character of Bigger at the beginning of the story and the influence of the other main characters toward Bigger’s personality development.

  At beginning of the story, Bigger, the major character of the novel is a common colored boy from Mississippi who lives in a poverty in the black neighborhood that is surrounded by the whites society. Bigger’s family condition does not give Bigger a good opportunity to have a good education. Therefore Bigger grows as ordinary colored boy who is uneducated. His lack of education has left him no option to have a proper job.

  Bigger is a rude and coward colored boy at the beginning of the story. He is easy to get panic, lack of self confidence and a narrow-minded person. As the story flows Bigger’s personality develops by many aspects. The influence of the minor characters in the story is one of the aspects that support Bigger’s personality development.


  Bigger is angry of being a man without any option. This condition seems to be the indications which raise Bigger’s hates of his family at once but it does not, since deep inside his heart Bigger truly frightened of being useless and worthless as a human being. Bigger hates the condition that makes his family live in poor condition and realizes that he cannot do anything to help his family improve the condition. Bigger’s fear leads him to hate his life of being colored and hates the whites of being superior at once.

  The first character which influences Bigger’s personality development is Mary Dalton. Bigger’s view of the whites alter when Bigger meets Mary the daughter of Bigger’s wealthy employers. Mary is a beautiful young lady who admits communist. Mary joins a communist association which fights against the racial discrimination. The way Mary interacts with Bigger without any regard of the social and racial differences between a black man and a white woman gives Bigger a freedom feeling. This is the first moment when Bigger finds the different sides of the whites. Mary treats Bigger as a human without any consideration on his skin color. For a moment Bigger forgets that Mary is a part of people who always tell him what he can do and what he can not do.

  Bigger’s life changed when he accidentally murdered Mary. At one side it left a bad mark on Bigger’s life but at the other side, it is a turning point of Bigger’s life.

  For the first time in his life Bigger feels that he does something. Mary’s murder gives Bigger a perspective that he has created a new life for himself. Bigger’s self


  himself. And Mary’s murdering leads Bigger to the next murder. Because of his big frightened of being captured as a murderer Bigger tries to do something to eliminate the witness that will threat his position. Therefore Bigger killed Bessie, his girlfriend. Bigger does not realize that he will put himself in a difficult condition by murdering those women.

  The second character which influenced Bigger’s personality is Reverend Hammond, the pastor of the Dalton’s church. Bigger’s captured creates a vast fear for Bigger himself. Bigger’s fear of being useless and worthless arises and removes his self confidence. Bigger is tapped into deep depression until the coming of Hammond, Bigger’s meeting with Hammond gives enlightment for Bigger. Hammond leads Bigger to release the problem he faces and brings Bigger to religion path. Here, Bigger learns that Hammond is listening to him and gives him an understanding. And it gives Bigger a hope that he still accepted as a human being.

  The next character who influences the development of Biggers personality is Jan Erlone. Jan is a member of the Communist party along with Mary, his girlfriend.

  Bigger’s first meeting with Jan left a fear to Bigger. Jan intends to treat Bigger as an equal but this uncommon behavior frightened and makes Bigger angry. But it changes when Jan comes to visit Bigger in jail. Jan comes to help Bigger by bringing a lawyer which will defense for Bigger for free even though Jan knows the fact Bigger is the murder of Mary, the woman he loves. Moreover, Jan does not blame Bigger for Mary’s death. Jan’s acceptance of Mary’s death really put Bigger in a deep


  guilt. For the first time Bigger truly sees the white person as an individual human being.

  The last character who influences Bigger’s personality development is Boris

  A. Max, a friend of Jan, a lawyer who works for the Labor Defenders, an organization affiliated with the Communist Party. Max speech on Bigger’s court shows Bigger that Bigger’s perception of the whites is wrong. Bigger never imagine that he will stand in a court with a white lawyer who defenses for him. Even though Max fails to obtain pardon from the court, Bigger tries to explain to Max that Max speech in the court really means something for Bigger.

  Bigger does not have self determination at the beginning of the story. He never has chance to make his own choice and decide for his life. Bigger’s turning point of self consideration arises through the murder of the daughter of his white wealthy employer. The existence of the minor characters influences Bigger’s personality development. They change Bigger’s point of view and way of thinking. Therefore when Bigger has to pay for his deed with his life, Bigger accepts it as his destiny.




  Abram, M.H. A Glossary of Literary Terms. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston,1981. Allen, Walter. Reading A Novel. London: Phoenix House Ltd., 1964. Barnet, Silvan (ed), William Burto and William E. Cain. Literature for Composition: Essays, Fiction, Poetry and Drama. New York: Pearson Longman, 2005. Benedetti, Robert. The Actor at Work. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1997. Boulton, Marjorie. The Anatomy of the Novel. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1975. Bracket, Oscar. The Theatre: An Introduction. New York: Holt Rinehart and Winstor, 1974. Guerin, Wiolfred. A Handbook of Critical Approach to Literature. New York: University Press, 1979. Hudson, William Henry. An Introduction to the Study of Literature. London: George S. Harrap, 1963. Hughes, Carl Milton. The Negro Novelist. New York: The Citadel Press, 1953. Hurlock, Elizabeth B. Personality Development. New Delhi: McGraw Hill, Inc. 1974. Kalish, Richard A. The Psychology of Human Behavior. California: Wordsworth Publishing Company Inc., 1971. Kazin, Alfred. On Native Grounds. New York: Harcourt Brace Javanovich, 1982. Langland, Elizabeth. Society in the Novel. London: The University of North Carolina Press, 1984. Murphy, M.J. Understanding Unseen. London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd., 1972. Pervin, Lawrence A. and Oliver P. John. Personality: Theory and Research, seventh edition. New York: John Wiley and Sons. Inc., 1996.


  Rohrberger, Mary and Samuel H. woods, Jr. Reading and Writing about Literature.

  New York: Random House Inc., 1971. Stanton, Robert. An Introduction to Fiction. Washington: Holt Rinehart and Winston Inc., 1965.

  Summers, Della. Longman Dictionary of English language and Culture. Essex: Longman, 1992.


Webster Encyclopedia Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language . New York:

Simon and Schuster, 1989.

  Wellek, Rene and Warren Austin. Theory of Literature. New York: A Harvest Book Harcout, Brace and World. Inc., 1977




Summary of Native Son

  Bigger Thomas is a young black man who has to share the apartment with his mother, his sister Vera, and his brother Buddy. Bigger hates his family because of their poverty and suffering and because he feels there is nothing he can do to help them. One day Bigger is offered a job in Mr. Dalton’s house. Bigger feels that perhaps he should try the job, at least he is free from his mother’s complaint since he has a job. When he arrives at the Daltons’, Bigger is unsure whether he should enter at the front or the back of the house. Then a maid opens the door for him. Bigger enters the Dalton’s house. He amazes with the luxurious of the furniture but he feels insecure and fears in that house. Then Mr. Dalton enters the room. He appears and leads Bigger toward his office. Mr. Dalton is the owner of the real estate company that owns the building in which Bigger and his family live.

  As Mr. Dalton continues to question Bigger, Mary Dalton enters into the room. Bigger is introduced to Mary and Mary immediately asks Bigger if he belongs to a Union. Bigger knows nothing about Unions except that they are supposed to be bad, and he begins to hate Mary for endangering his chance at the job. Fortunately Bigger got the job. Bigger’s first duty is driving Mary to the university that evening. But Mary is not going to the university, but instead has other plans that she does not want to reveal to her parents. Bigger agrees to keep Mary’s activities a secret. He


  encountered from a white person. Then Mary introduces Bigger to her friend and lover, Jan Erlone. Jan introduces himself by shaking Bigger’s hand and insisting that Bigger calls him by his first name. Bigger thinks Mary and Jan are secretly making fun of him.

  Mary and Jan insist that Bigger eats with them in Ernie’s kitchen, the black restaurant nearby. They keep on insisting therefore Bigger angrily agrees. They eat the dinner and then drink rum together until they get drunk. Before they leave the restaurant, Mary tells Bigger she is going to Detroit at nine o’clock the next morning and that he should bring her small trunk to the station at eight-thirty. They have become thoroughly drunk by the time Bigger drops Jan off. Before he leaves, Jan gives Bigger some communist pamphlets to read.

  When Mary and Bigger arrive back at the Daltons’, Mary is too drunk to walk. Terrified, Bigger helps her into the house and gets her into her bedroom and leaving the car in the driveway. In the bedroom, Bigger becomes sexually aroused and kisses Mary when Mrs. Dalton suddenly enters the room. Bigger gets panic. He knows that Mrs. Dalton is blind, but he worries that Mary may say something that unconsciously reveals his presence. Mary starts to rise in response to her mother’s voice, so Bigger places a pillow over Mary’s face to prevent her from speaking. In his panic, he accidentally smothers Mary to death. Mrs. Dalton kneels by the bed and smells the alcohol on her daughter. She prays and returns to her bedroom.

  Bigger realizes that Mary is dead and tries anxiously to create a plan. He


  front of the furnace and decides to burn the body. He forces her body through the door, but her head is not fit, so he cuts it off with a hatchet and stuffs the rest of her remains into the furnace. Bigger decides that he will act as though nothing has happened and that he will take Mary’s trunk to the station in the morning.

  The next morning, Bigger wakes up earlier than the rest of his family, and he gets panic. He realizes he must hide Mary’s purse as well as his own knife, which still has blood on the blade. Bigger finds the communist pamphlets Jan gave him and plans to use them as evidence against Jan if the police come around asking questions.

  When his mother wakes and asks why he did not get home until four o’clock in the morning, Bigger insists that he returned at two because that time fits better with the story he has constructed.

  Bigger considers his crime and becomes filled with a sense of self determination. In murdering Mary, he feels he has created a new life for himself.

  Bigger then decides to go back to the Daltons’ house. When he arrives, he finds Peggy staring into the furnace. When Mrs Dalton is having conversation with Peggy, Bigger is eavesdropping. Mrs. Dalton becomes worried when Peggy says that it looks like Mary did not pack all her things. Then Mrs. Dalton questions him, and he repeats his story, adding that Jan accompanied him to Mary’s room. Mrs. Dalton gives Bigger the rest of the day off. Bigger decides to visit Bessie, his girlfriend, and tell her about his plan. Bigger tries to trust Bessie because he does not any other chance.

  Bigger tells Bessie that the Daltons’ daughter ran away with a communist and that he


  ransom note and collect more. Bigger then goes to the Dalton’s house. Peggy informs him that Mr. Dalton wants him to pick up Mary’s trunk at the station because she has not claimed it.

  When Bigger returns from the station, the Daltons introduce him to Britten, a private investigator they have hired. Britten persistently questions Bigger. Bigger is excited because for the first time he is in control. Bigger tells Britten that he had not driven Mary to the university. He says that he did the job Mary instructed him to do and that he kept it a secret because Mary told him to do so. Bigger also says about the pamphlets Jan had given him. Later on Mr. Dalton and Britten bring Jan to the house for questioning.

  Bigger starts his story of Mary’s kidnapped. He slips the ransom note under the Daltons’ front door and checks the furnace again. Mr. Dalton reads the letter and calls Britten. Bigger eavesdrops while Peggy assures Britten that Bigger acts just like most colored boys. Britten questions Bigger again, asking questions about his feelings for white women. The next day the press arrives at the Daltons’. As the reporters stand around in the basement discussing the story, Peggy asks Bigger to clean the ashes out of the furnace. Bigger sifts some of the ashes into the lower bin and adds more coal. However, the ashes still block the airflow, causing thick smoke to fill the basement. When the smoke disappears, several pieces of bone and an earring are visible on the floor. When Bigger sees these remnants, all of his old feelings return then Bigger creeps up to his room and jumps out the window. He


  After Bigger explains that he accidentally killed Mary, finally he kills Bessie too.

  Bigger sleeps uneasily during the night. Though he senses his fear and hatred, he still feels powerful. Like Mary’s death, Bessie’s death gives Bigger a newfound strength, and he feels a sense of wholeness he has never felt before. Bigger then looks for a vacant apartment in which to hide. The next morning, the police finds Bigger’s apartment. He tries to escape to the roof but finally the police capture Bigger.

  In jail, Bigger lives in a world with no day, no night, and no fear or hatred. But as a black man he does not want to die unequal. A preacher of Biggger’s mother church comes to visit. After a while Jan comes to Bigger’s cell. Jan says that he is not angry and that he wants to help Bigger. As Jan speaks, Bigger notes that this moment is the first time in his life that he has seen a white person as an individual human being. This feeling deepens Bigger’s guilt, as he knows he has killed the woman Jan loved. Then Jan introduces Bigger to Boris A. Max, a lawyer for the Labor Defenders. Max wants to defend Bigger free of charge.

  The authorities lead Bigger to the courtroom for his trial. After some witnesses are presented, finally Bigger is accused for rape and murder. Then the police take him to the Daltons house and ask him to reconstruct the crime. From the Dalton’s house Bigger is brought back to the cell. Max visits Bigger in his cell.

  Hopeless, Bigger tells Max that none of his efforts will be of use. Bigger feels that he will die no matter what Max says in the court. Bigger says that the whites do not let black people do what they want. Then Max asks what Bigger wants in life. Bigger is


  acknowledges his life and feelings. He feels that Max considers his existence. On the other hand, Bigger knows that he faces the death penalty, and therefore believes that it is too late to learn the meaning of his existence.

  The day of the final trial is coming. In the courtroom, Max presents his case. He argues that Bigger is a symbol who represent and exposes the ills of American society. Max argues that Bigger murdered Mary accidentally. But he accepted his crime, which gave him the opportunities of choice and action, and the sense that his actions finally meant something. Max says that there are millions more like Bigger in the American society. Finally, Max begs the court to give Bigger life. Bigger does not entirely understand Max’s speech, but he is proud that Max has worked so hard to save him. After a brief deliberation, the judge returns and sentences Bigger to death. Max visits Bigger again after a failed attempt to obtain a pardon from the governor. Bigger tries to explain how much Max’s questions about his life meant to him, as these questions acknowledged Bigger’s existence as a human being, even as a murderer. Bigger tells Max he does believe in himself now. He did not want to kill, but there was something in him that has made him kill and that something must be good. He tells Max that he feels all right when he looks at it this way. Max is horrified at Bigger’s words, but Bigger assures him that he is all right.

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