Literature Study GuidesNative SonFear Book 1 Street To Pool Room Summary

Native Son | Study Guide

Richard Wright

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Native Son | Fear, Book 1 (Street to Pool Room) | Summary



Bigger meets his friend Gus in the street, and the two smoke together while watching a plane skywrite above their heads. Bigger says he'd like to learn how to fly, and Gus says the white folks wouldn't let him even if he had the money to go to flight school. They talk about how the white folks don't let them do anything, and Bigger says he thinks something bad is going to happen to him. He says he can feel the white people and their rules in his stomach and that's what gives him this feeling. Then he and Gus go on to the local poolroom, where they meet their friends Jack and G.H. and make a plan to rob Blum's Delicatessen that afternoon at 3:00.


The conversation between Bigger and Gus further emphasizes how segregation has limited Bigger's opportunities to have a better life. In this scene he has some vague aspirations and dreams, but his poverty and the boundaries of what he is allowed to do under the rules of segregation keep those aspirations vague. This conversation also provides an early look at the depth of Bigger's anger at white people when he says he would probably drop a few bombs on them if he could fly a plane. When he says he can feel it in his stomach when he thinks about them being against him and that something awful is going to happen to him, he says it "with a tinge of bitter pride in his voice." This tone shows that Bigger might just as easily say this feeling he has will drive him to do something awful.

This morning Bigger plans to rob Blum's Delicatessen. Bigger and his group have robbed other businesses and individuals around the neighborhood before, but they've never worried much about punishment because their targets were other black people. This sort of crime doesn't get much attention from the police, another indication of the black community's importance in the city. However, Blum is white, and, although that has no influence on their decision to rob his business, hitting the delicatessen carries a greater risk of punishment. It is only after the gang decides they are unlikely to get caught that they agree to go through with the plan, and they're still uneasy about it. Even the rules of crime are governed by segregation.

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