Literature Study GuidesNative SonFlight Book 2 Ransom Reporters And Escape Summary

Native Son | Study Guide

Richard Wright

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Native Son | Flight, Book 2 (Ransom, Reporters, and Escape) | Summary



The Daltons quickly discover the note under the front door. Britten, suspicious of Bigger, returns to question Peggy about his mannerisms, intelligence, and general behavior. Peggy says Bigger seems normal, quiet, and polite but not unusually intelligent. Britten and his investigators then question Bigger again about Jan, Mary, the communists, and the note.

A team of reporters arrives, and Mr. Dalton makes a statement about the "kidnapping." He announces Jan's arrest and release from police custody, his intent to keep the police out of the matter, and his intention to comply with the kidnapper's demands. The reporters remain in the house and find Bigger in the basement. Britten urges Bigger to answer their questions, so he recounts his story again. During the interview with the reporters, the furnace begins to smoke from a buildup of ashes inside. One of the reporters helps clear out the ash bin, and the reporters notice bone fragments and one of Mary's earrings in the pile. While the reporters gasp over this discovery, Bigger sneaks up to his room, jumps out the window, and takes off for Bessie's apartment.


The confidence and bravado Bigger felt early in the day have been replaced by the fear that returns after Britten's questioning and the guilt he feels about framing Jan. In purely criminal terms, emotion is making Bigger sloppy. He rushes to write and deliver the ransom note and confesses his crime to Bessie in order to pressure her into going along with his plan. He is unsettled by the reporters' presence in the basement as they go over every inch of the crime scene, so he also forgets to tend to the furnace, which leads to the discovery of Mary's remains. Governed by fear, he abandons his plan to frame Jan, even though the reporters do not immediately look to him when the remains are found, and by going on the run Bigger declares his own guilt.

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