Class Agenda 54B – Native Son 87 -93

Date: 12/8/17

Opening Song  “Native Son” Gramatik (4:00 – 2016)  

Do Now #1: Make a timeline of at least 7 events that have happened to Bigger Thomas since the start of the book — ending with him in Mary’s bedroom. 

Bigger Thomas in Native Son

Do Now #2: Glue this special HW assignment (instead of a journal page) in your HW notebook tonight.


  • Where are your missing Write Longs? Lauren and Josh are starting to call homes. 
  • How we are collecting WL #4

SLT and HW Check

SLT- I can describe how Richard Wright uses past events to connect to Bigger’s current situation in Native Son.

Circle the verbs, underline the nouns

Independent Work: 

Mini Lesson:

Bigger: Bigger Than The Sum Of His Parts

In an essay called “The Fact of Blackness”, Franz Fanon describes Bigger Thomas as a symbol that represents all black men. Bigger Thomas’s most consistent emotion is fear; he is even afraid of himself.

Here is how Bigger feels even before he ever commits a crime:

“You know one thing?” Big said.


“Sometimes I feel like something awful’s going to happen to me,” Bigger spoke with a tinge of bitter pride in his voice.

“What you mean?” Gus asked, looking at him quickly. There was fear in Gus’s eyes.

“I don’t know. I just feel that way. Every time I get to thinking about me being black and they being white, me being here and they being there, I feel like something awful’s going to happen to me…” (1.279)

This amount of self-loathing and relentless fear is an insanely destructive force. If you’re made to feel that “something awful’s going to happen” from the start, you’re pretty much trapped in a spiral of intensely negative emotions… which leads to more stress than anyone knows what to do with.

Ultimately, Fanon argues, Bigger Thomas has to do something to end the tension he feels. So he murders the daughter of his employers, and the tension released. Even though the death was initially accidental, Bigger’s act gives him a sense of purpose and identity. He’s actually done something now: he’s taken his fate into his own hands and his every choice in life is no longer dictated by others. This feeling is, of course, short-lived.

Independent Work:

Page 87“Gradually, the intensity of his sensations subsided and he was aware of the room. He felt that he had been in the grip of a weird spell and was now free.” 

Do you think the author has ever described Bigger as “free” before? What do you make of the decision to do that now?

Page 88-90: What is going through Bigger’s mind here? What is he plotting and how?

Page 91. Who interrupts Bigger? What do you think it symbolizes?

Page 93. What does Bigger do after he leaves the Dalton’s and why? Some past students have said this proves he doesn’t care about what happened. Do you agree/disagree? 

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