Bigger : Twenty years old, he is the eldest of the three children of Mrs Thomas who is a sinle parent.
He dropped out of school at the eighth grade, he had been at the reformatory school once for stealing auto tyres. now he keep company of other jobless friends, committing petty crimes
Bigger is limited by the fact that he has only
completed the eighth grade, and by the racist real estate practices that force him to live in poverty. Furthermore, he is subjected to endless bombardment from a popular culture that portrays whites as sophisticated and blacks as either subservient or savage. Indeed, racism has severely curtailed Bigger’s prospects in life and even his very conception of himself. He is ashamed of his family’s poverty and afraid of the whites who control his life—feelings he works hard to keep hidden, even from himself. When these feelings overwhelm him, he reacts with violence. Bigger commits crimes with his friends —though only against other blacks, as the group is too frightened to rob a white man—but his own violence is often directed at these friends as well. Bigger feels little guilt after he accidentally kills Mary. In fact, he feels for the first time as though his life actually has meaning. Mary’s murder makes him believe that he has the power to assert himself against whites. Wright goes out of his way to emphasize that Bigger is not a conventional hero, as his brutality and capacity for violence are extremely disturbing, especially in graphic scenes such as the one in which he decapitates Mary’s corpse in order to stuff it into the furnace. Wright does not present Bigger as a hero to admire, but as a frightening and upsetting figure created by racism. Indeed, Wright’s point is that Bigger becomes a brutal killer precisely because the dominant white culture fears that he will become a brutal killer. By confirming whites’ fears, Bigger contributes to the cycle of racism in America. Only after he meets Max and learns to talk through his problems does Bigger begin to redeem himself, recognizing whites as individuals for the first time and realizing the extent to which he has been stunted by racism. Bigger’s progress is cut short, however, by his execution.
Mary : Mary is the beautiful daughter of the chicago capitalist millionaire, Mr Henry Dalton she is the heiress to the big wealth of the dalton because she is the only child of the family. she is considered a major character in the novel not because of the number of her role or frequency of her appearance in the events making up story, but the centrality of her appearance. consciously identifies herself as a progressive: she defies her parents by dating a communist, cares about social issues, and is politically and personally interested in improving the lives of blacks in America. Though Mary’s intentions are essentially good, however, she is too young and immature either to commit fully to her chosen causes or to attain a sophisticated understanding of those people she seeks to help. Mary attempts to treat Bigger as a human being, but gives no thought to the fact that Bigger might be surprised and confused by such unprecedented treatment from the wealthy white daughter of his employer. Mary simply assumes that Bigger will embrace her friendship, as she supports the political cause that she believes he represents. She does not even think to wonder about any of his personal qualities, thoughts, or feelings, butmerely seeks to befriend him automatically, because he is black. For a tragically brief moment, Mary seems to recognize Bigger’s discomfort, a sign that perhaps one day she could be capable of greater understanding. Ultimately, however, Mary never gets the chance to perceive Bigger as an individual. Though Mary has the best of intentions, she treats Bigger with a thoughtless racism that is just as destructive as the more overt hypocrisy of her parents. Interacting with the Daltons, Bigger at least knows where he stands. Mary’s behavior, however, is disorienting and upsetting to him. Ultimately, Mary’s thoughtlessness actually ends up placing Bigger in serious danger, while the only risk she herself runs is mild punishment or disapproval from her parents for her disobedience. She does not stop to think that Bigger could easily lose his job—or worse —if he upsets her parents. Mary unthinkingly puts Bigger in the position of being alone with her in her bedroom, and her inability to understand him and the terror he feels at the prospect of being discovered in her room proves fatal.
Mr. and Mrs. Dalton – A white millionaire couple living in Chicago. Mrs. Dalton is blind; Mr. Dalton has earned a fortune in real estate. Although he profits from charging high rents to poor black tenants—including Bigger’s family—on Chicago’s South Side, he nonetheless claims to be a generous philanthropist and supporter of black Americans.
Jan Erlone – A member of the Communist Party and Mary Dalton’s boyfriend—a relationship that upsets Mary’s parents. Jan, like Mary, wants to treat Bigger as an equal, but such untraditional behavior only frightens and angers Bigger. Jan later recognizes his mistake in trying to treat Bigger this way and becomes sympathetic toward his plight. Jan becomes especially aware of the social divisions that prevent Bigger from relating normally with white society.
Boris A. Max – A Jewish lawyer who works for the Labor Defenders, an organization affiliated with the Communist Party. Max argues, based on a sociological analysis of American society, that institutionalized racism and prejudice—not inherent ethnic qualities create conditions for violence in urban ghettos.
Bessie Mears – Bigger’s girlfriend. Their relationship remains quite distant and is largely based upon mutual convenience rather than romantic love. Mrs. Thomas – Bigger’s devoutly religious mother. Mrs. Thomas has accepted her precarious, impoverished position in life and warns Bigger at the beginning of the novel that he will meet a bad end if he fails to change his ways.
Buddy Thomas – Bigger’s younger brother. Buddy, unlike his brother, does not rebel against his low position on the social ladder. In fact, he envies Bigger’s job as a chauffeur for a rich white family. As the novel progresses, however, Buddy begins to take on a more antagonistic attitude toward racial prejudice.
Vera Thomas – Bigger’s younger sister. Vera, like Bigger, lives her life in constant fear.
G. H., Gus, and Jack – Bigger’s friends, who often plan and execute robberies together. G. H., Gus, and Jack hatch a tentative plan to rob a white shopkeeper, Mr. Blum, but they are afraid of the consequences if they should be caught robbing white man. At the beginning of the novel, Bigger taunts his friends about their fear, even though he is just as terrified himself.
Mr. Blum – A white man who owns a delicatessen on the South Side of Chicago. Mr. Blum represents an inviting robbery target for Bigger and his friends, but their fear of the consequences of robbing a white man initially prevents them from following through on their plan.
Britten – A racist, anticommunist private investigator who helps Mr. Dalton investigate Mary’s disappearance. Buckley – The incumbent State’s Attorney who is running for reelection. Buckley is viciously racist and anticommunist
Peggy – An Irish immigrant who has worked as the Daltons’ cook for years. Peggy considers the Daltons to be marvelous benefactors to black Americans. Though she is actively kind to Bigger, she is also extremely patronizing. Doc – The black owner of a pool hall on the South Side of Chicago that serves as a hangout for Bigger and his friends. Reverend Hammond – The pastor of Mrs. Thomas’s church who urges Bigger to turn toward religion in times of trouble.