Thematic Essay On Bigger's Speech

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Confined. Bigger was confined by four white walls of oppression and no possibility of escape. Bigger, taught to fear the white man and avoid the white woman, knew nothing about humanity. However, when confronted by Mary, she treated him with unexpected kindness. Mary represents white society, the same society whose sole desire is to destroy Bigger. But, for the first time in Bigger’s life, a white person acted as if he was human, and ultimately Mary’s simple act of kindness killed her. Bigger was so unaccustomed to kindness, that he reacted like an animal. Due to primal instincts, when put into a stressful situation the human body resorts to animalistic behavior and has two options: to fight the stressor, or to flee from it. But, since Bigger’s…show more content…
Buckley allows the jury to place the blame on Bigger, thus avoiding any feelings of guilt for their wrongdoing. The court does not want to feel sympathy for Bigger. Feeling sympathy would require the court to admit their role in Bigger’s crime. The jury wanted a scapegoat. Buckley calls Bigger a “maddened ape” (376) and thus rips away the meager remains of Bigger’s humanity. Eager to blind the jury, Buckley denies Bigger’s humanity. No longer does the jury see a man’s life at stake, but an animal 's. Furthermore, Buckley shows the jury Bigger’s animalistic nature through the biblical allusion to the snake in the Garden of Eden. Stating that everyone should “crush with [their] heel the wooly head of [the] black lizard”(373), Buckley draws comparisons between Bigger and a snake--the physical embodiment of evil. When confronted with a great evil, it is humanity’s duty to ensure that said evil dies. Comparing Bigger to a snake creates a sense of urgency among the jury. Allowing a deadly viper to roam free increases the risk of being bitten. Buckley coerces the jury into believing it would be downright sinful to allow such a threat to live. Buckley makes Bigger’s guilt appear impossible to deny. His appeals create a call for action to put the beast to…show more content…
Max attempts to show the guilt of society-- that it is not solely Bigger’s crime, but society’s crime. Bigger was “excluded from, and unassimilated in [the white man’s] society” (367). He was created by a fractured society. Max shows that society deserves as much blame for the death of the two women as Bigger does. Buckley also applies guilt but in a different manner. Using guilt to display how Bigger is entirely responsible for his crime Buckley portrays Bigger as a “cunning beast” (372), showing that Bigger’s actions were thought out. Buckley bases his arguments on the idea that Bigger knew what he was doing. Thus suggesting that Bigger deserves full blame for his crime. Both Max and Buckley also play on the hearts of the audience to try and sway their opinions. Max highlights how Bigger had been stripped of all humanity and had been robbed of life before he ever had the chance to live. However, Buckley, plays on the sympathies for the Dalton family and explains why a murder cannot go unpunished. This allows him to win the court case, but Buckley did not have the superior argument. Max’s speech contained stronger support systems as well as a stronger appeal to
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