what circumstances do bigger and his family face at the outset of the book?
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It is a harsh winter in the "Black Belt" (a predominantly black ghetto of Chicago).Bigger lives in an impoverished, one room apartment with his mother and his teenaged siblings, Vera and Buddy. Ma and Vera share one bed, Buddy and Bigger share the other, on an opposite end of the crowded living space. This morning, Ma and Vera wake up to find a foot-long rat pacing the apartment. Amid screams, Bigger and Buddy wake up. Armed with a heavy iron skillet, Bigger kills the ratat the cost of a five-inch gash in his pants. Vera begins sobbing after Bigger shoves the dead rat in her face, swinging the animal's body by its tail; after Vera passes out, Ma scolds Bigger and orders him to go outside and throw the animal away.Ma is worried that her son appears unconcerned about her welfare and at breakfast, she "prophecies" that Bigger will go to "the gallows" unless he discontinues associating with his gang. Things don't look promising for this family.