I don’t know if you’ve ever read the ‘About Me’ tab at the top of this blog. If you have then great but if you haven’t I’m about to share something with you today. This is in that section:
Why I chose Bigger Thomas
My favorite book was and still is The Native Son by Richard Wright. The novel’s central character is Bigger Thomas, an often misunderstood young African American. In a lot of ways I could identify with Bigger so I decided to make his name my site url.
I am currently reading Nathan McCall’s Makes Me Wanna Holler. This book is intriguing in that its always fascinates me seeing the progression of a young person and how they get caught up in a life of violent crime and drug dealing. Sort of like season 4 and 5 of The Wire. I’m at the part of the book where a 19 year old Nathan finds himself in jail on a 12 year sentence for robbing a McDonalds. While in jail he gets a job in the library and ends up reading the Native Son. This is what he had to say about the book:
I identified with strongly with Bigger and the book’s narrative. He was twenty, the same age as me. He felt the things I felt, and, like me, he wound up in prison. The book’s portrait of Bigger captured all those conflicting feelings- restless anger, hopelessness, a touch facade among blacks and a deep-seated fear of whites- that I’d sensed in myself but was unable to express. Often, during my teenage years, I’d felt like Bigger- headed down a road toward a destruction I couldn’t ward off, beaten by forces so large and amorphous that I had no idea how to fight back. I was surprised that somebody had written a book that so closely reflected my experiences and feelings.
I read that book everyday, and continued reading by the dim light of the hall lamps at night, while everyone slept. On that early morning when I finished reading the Native Son, which ends with Bigger waiting to go to the electric chair, I broke down and sobbed like a baby.
I have read the Native Son 6 times since high school. Considering I’ve never read another book more than twice (well I’ve read Animal Farm three times) you can probably guess how powerful this book still years decades later. Today I pay hommage to my favorite author. Richard Wright.