Native Son

How does the presence of Bigger's family and friends make him feel?

Native son Book 3

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Bigger wanted his family to leave. He felt they were taking on his shame and he wanted to protect them. Most of all, he wanted to protect them from the eyes of the white people in the room. His family made him feel vulnerable. From the text:

He identified himself with his family and felt their naked shame under the eyes of white folks. While looking at his brother and sister and feeling his mother’s arms about him; while knowing that Jack and G.H. and Gus were standing awkwardly in the doorway staring at him in curious disbelief— while being conscious of all this, Bigger felt a wild and outlandish conviction surge in him: They ought to be glad! It was a strange but strong feeling, springing from the very depths of his life. Had he not taken fully upon himself the crime of being black? Had he not done the thing which they dreaded above all others? Then they ought not stand here and pity him, cry over him; but look at him and go home, contented, feeling that their shame was washed away.


Wright, Richard. Native Son (Kindle Locations 5805-5808). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.