Justice And Injustice In Richard Wright's Native Son

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In life as in novels, there is often a great deal of injustice. Characters and people will bend the meaning of “justice” to whatever helps them most, and often a larger group will end up oppressing a smaller group. The same happens in Richard Wright’s Native Son. This novel chronicles the struggles of Bigger Thomas against a system of oppression and hatred from whites, as well as his search for some kind of justice. Due to the twisted system of race relations in place, Bigger is pushed to crime, murder, and eventually death. The views of justice and injustice presented in this novel contribute a great deal to its meaning. In Richard Wright’s Native Son, a great deal of meaning can be extracted from Bigger Thomas’s understanding of justice,…show more content…
First of all, there is the obvious fact that in the end he is in fact given the death penalty. However, this is likely one of the less unjust things that happened to him – he was, in truth, a rapist and twice a murderer; although the court’s reasons for killing him were unjust. Instead, the injustice occurred earlier in the novel, and before the novel began, throughout his life. The injustice comes not in his death, but in the events that led to his misery, his hopelessness, and his crime. Bigger, however, has tragically come to accept it. This is evidenced by the fact that he at one point acknowledges that, really, white society was not so much a present singular thing so much as it was a force, omnipresent and unavoidable. It was not something that he became actively mad at, because it was something that was so ingrained in him and such a part of his life. Throughout his life, whites – as a whole, not necessarily specific individuals – commit injustices against him by restricting where he can live, how he can act, what he can do, and who he can be. His life is poured into a rigid and painful mold, and because of their injustices against him, he is driven to commit crimes against them. However, Bigger’s search for justice cannot be considered completely unsuccessful. Through the companionship with Max he learns that all whites are not necessarily evil, and with this Wright introduces hope that there may yet be some good to come out of this, and that there is hope for society. Bigger also meets Jan who is kind to him even after all the horrible things Bigger did. Although Bigger Thomas’s search for justice is primarily unsuccessful, there is a hint of hope by the end of the

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