Route 7 Review - Page 165

he sees “his world” through his symbolic eyes. Laura Tanner suggests, “Bigger’s awkward relationship to written language is expressed most clearly in his composition of the kidnap note. . . The sudden intrusion of the narrator’s voice that follows may be an attempt to ‘translate’ Bigger’s feelings into the sophisticated prose to which he has no access” (134-35). With Wright providing the necessary linguistic expression of Bigger’s voice, the entirety of Native Son is a Dostoevskian journey into the psychological depths of a criminal mind. It is thus a sympathetic perspective to Bigger Thomas. Of narrating Bigger’s story, Wright articulates that, “He (Bigger) was hovering between two worlds-between powerful America and his own stunted place in life--and I took upon myself the task of trying to make the reader feel this No Man’s Land. The most that I could say of Bigger was that he felt the need for a whole life and acted out of that need; that was all. . . Throughout (the text) there is but one point of view: Bigger’s. . . I kept out of the story as much as possible, for I wanted the reader to feel that there was nothing between him and Bigger” (How Bigger Was Born 527, 37). We not only see Bigger through Bigger, but we see also Mary and Jan through Bigger. Bigger’s hate and fear for Mary and Jan is also fear and hatred for himself. His fear is no different from their blindness—both are social constructs of institutionalized slavery and racism. Unlike Jan and Mary forcing their ways on Bigger in the early sections of the text, we must realize that “Being Bigger” is a gradual and shared communal process. “Say, Jan, do you know many Negroes? I want to meet some./ I don’t know any very well. But you’ll meet them when you’re in the Party. . . I got some stuff here I want Bigger to read (Communist Party pamphlets). . . I really want you to read ‘em now. We’ll have a talk ‘bout ‘em in a coupla days” (Native Son 88, 91). Jan forces his ways on Bigger before trying to get to know him. How does he know that Bigger is interested in the pamphlets or even literate enough to read them? “Being Bigger” is overcoming this type of slavery and racism of invisibility and blindness—for both the viewed and the viewer in realistic, not idealistic, ways. For both, it is raising mutual standards and expectations. Bigger starts this once his blindness ends and his new world- view begins--precisely at the end of “Fear”--both literally and figuratively--in the text chapter and within himself. “He looked around the room, seeing it for the first time. . . and if he could see while others were blind, then he could get what he wanted and never be caught at it. . .Buddy seemed aimless, lost. . . like a chubby puppy. . .His mother came into the room. . . and he saw how soft and shapeless she was. Her eyes were tired and sunken and darkly ringed from a long lack of rest. . . (In Vera) the beginning of the same tiredness was already there. . . It was the first time he had ever been in their (Gus, Jack and G.H.’s) presence without feeling fearful (NativeSon 118, 121, 122, 127). Bigger sees the world in this positively realistic view for good. Although he uses invisibility to his advantage to stall for time while plotting his criminal scheme, Bigger ultimately wants to be seen and recognized for who he is—a great criminal who can be above a common petty thief. James Miller suggests, “Bigger will not be satisfied. . . until his actions are recognized by the world whose attention he seeks” (504). James Baldwin argues: Bigger feels, in relation to his family, that perhaps they had to live as they did precisely because none of them had ever done anything, right or wrong, which mattered very much. . .and he feels, when his family and his friends come to visit him in the death cell, that they should not be weeping or frightened, that they should be happy, proud that he has dared, through murder and now through his own imminent destruction, to redeem their anger and humiliation (39). “Being Bigger” is constantly striving to “do something that matters” to us. Although Bigger takes a negative means towards a positive end--we must create the same effects that he does. We must strive to be great and take our rightful place in the world. “Now that the ice was broken, could he not do other things? What was there to stop him (Bigger)” (Native Son 120)? Once we decide to “Be Bigger,” what is there to stop us from doing and achieving whatever we want? Resisting against the system is a normal part of passionate and active living. The rebel hero understands this and fights both for and/ or against something with all of his or her might. “Being Bigger” is rebelling on our own terms with which we are content to live--not those of society. It is a practical application of the advice given by