Native Son

Who is Bigger Thomas in Native Son?

native son the book who is the main character 

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The protagonist of the novel, Bigger Thomas is twenty years old, living in one of the many slum apartments of Chicago's predominantly-black South Side. The rough conditions of South Side life are dramatized at the beginning of the novel when Bigger is roused awake by his mother and younger siblings so that he might kill a yellow-fanged rat. Bigger's anger and pride alternate to determine much of the novel's beginning. While Bigger is willing to brutalize his fellow gang members, his killing of the multi-millionaire heiress, Mary Dalton, is purely accidental. Midway through the novel, Bigger's rape/murder of his girlfriend, Bessie Mears, seals his fate and he is soon apprehended by the authorities. The flight motif, developed during Book Two, hearkens back to the rat that Bigger kills in the opening scene and by the novel's end, Bigger's fate is equally grim. Doomed to the electric chair, Bigger's lot in the judicial system is little improved despite the assistance of the Communist "Public Defenders." Nonetheless, the defense attorney, Boris A. Max, is on hand during Bigger's final hours, assisting him in his final struggle to find worth in his existence.