the story of Bigger
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In Book 1, Wright sets the stage with Bigger's encounter with the Daltons. After taking the job as a chauffeur, Bigger becomes involved in a drunken night of communist activity. He accidentally kills Mary at the end of this section.
Book 2 describes Bigger' cunning and deceit, as he covers his crime up well. He is eventually caught when police notice the remains of Mary in the fireplace. This section ends after Bigger rapes and kills Bessie.
Book 3 is dedicated to the courtroom scene, in which Bigger is eventually found guilty of murder and sentenced to death--despite the communist lawyer's defense. Bigger sums up his crimes, saying they "must have been good for something."