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Mr. Max's Speech

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In the novel Native Son by Richard Wright, the final plea of Mr. Max regarding the trial of Bigger Thomas is very important as it encompasses the main theme of oppression and its importance to the United States on a monumental scale. Mr. Max analyzes the life of Bigger Thomas in the way the author intends it to be seen, as a symbol of the lives of the 12 million African Americans living in the United States at that time. The passionate speech by Mr. Max covers the theme of blindness, and how the white populace uses it to shield themselves from guilt. Also, he uses an extended metaphor to depict how the ghettos merely fuelled the oppression and crime of the city. Similarly to the containment of the blacks in ghettos he mentions the lack of expression and freedom, which connects to important symbols mentioned earlier in the novel. The passionate and urgent tone to the speech also shows promise for the future as Max makes his heartfelt speech in hopes of change for an oppressed people.
A very important theme arises in Max’s speech as he mentions blindness. Max states that Mrs. Dalton’s “philanthropy was as tragically blind as [her] sightless eyes!” Comparing Mrs. Daltons motives to her physical blindness emphasises how her charitable acts did not help the black community but merely subsided her guilt for their oppression. Max also mentions how through the media, “every conceivable prejudice has been dragged into this case.” This also connects to the theme of blindness as the prejudices naturally impede the members of the court from seeing Bigger in a fair and unbiased view. This connects to previous instances as the media describes bigger as an ape: “his lower jaw protrudes obnoxiously, reminding one of a jungle beast”. The ape lik...


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...rtant as it represented the bond between humans that Max was fighting for, regardless the race of the person.
Despite the anger, racism and oppression of the populace of Chicago, Mr. Max provided the author’s insight on the time period and it’s need for change. The passionate speech by Mr. Max covered the theme of blindness and how it affected bigger and the black community. Also, he emphasizes the issues regarding the ghetto and the separation of blacks and whites. The lack of opportunities for the blacks also left them in need of fulfillment, which is also an important issue mentioned by Mr. Max. The extreme passion which was portrayed through his speech also left Bigger with a feeling of gratitude and the speech was ultimately important for its efforts in making a step forward in race relations and dealing with the disgusting discrimination of that time period.



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