NATIVE SON by Richard Wright

This book is such an experience. I feel for Bigger so much: his anger and frustration and sensitivity. Basically what happens is that he gets a job driving for a rich, white family and accidentally kills the daughter. He tries to play cool, but one thing leads to another and he gets caught. So he goes on the run with his girlfriend and ends up killing her too for being too nervous. After that he’s pretty much trapped within city limits due to a snow storm, stuck waiting for the search party to find him on a rooftop.

Bigger’s journey reminds me a lot of Crime and Punishment. In that book, Raskolnikov also partakes in a messy robbery/double murder. The psychological effects torture both of them endlessly, yet they also cling to their crime as a part of their newfound identity in the world. Bigger and Raskolnikov run on auto-pilot in their respective books, in the zone for a few days, where they continue to struggle with things like housing and hunger and family. Part of the tragedy lies in their desire to simply be alive.


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