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His mother serves him breakfast. He asks her for money to avoid suspicion, even though he has the money from Mary's purse. His mother gives him fifty cents and tells him she only has fifty cents to last until Wednesday. He sees Buddy in the light of Jan. He decides that Buddy, too, is blind. Buddy wants a job like his. He is going "round and round in a groove and did not see things." Buddy wants to know why Bigger is looking at him in such a way. His mother comes into the room and he notices her shapelessness. She is tired and uses furniture as support as she walks around the room. He sees that Vera has the same look of tiredness that his mother has. He sees the sharp contrast between Vera and Mary. Vera "seemed to be shrinking from life in every gesture she made. The very manner in which she sat showed a fear so deep as to be an organic part of her." Vera wails at him to stop staring at her.
He leaves and Buddy follows him outside. He has dropped money. Buddy thinks Bigger is in trouble and wants to help. Bigger gives Buddy one of the bills. He grabs Buddy's arm and hurts Buddy, telling him not to tell anyone, then he walks away. He sees G.H. at the drug store and buys him a package of cigarettes. He feels very excited. Jack comes in and Bigger buys him cigarettes, too. He lets them see his roll of money. Gus arrives and Bigger buys him cigarettes. He gives each one a dollar and then buys them each a beer and leaves. He realizes it is the first time he has been in their presence without being fearful.
He takes the street car to the Daltons' house. He wonders if any of the "white faces all about him think he had killed a rich white girl." He decides they would never think that. They would only think of him as a petty thief, a rapist, a drunkard, or a fighter. He repeats his new motto "Act like other people thought you ought to act, yet do what you wanted."
He cannot get the image of Mary's bloody head out of his mind. He decides Mary made him do it. She should have left him alone. He feels the murder was "amply justified by the fear and shame she had made him feel." He feels the tension of his life lift from him. The narrator remarks that "To Bigger and his kind white people were not really people; they were a sort of great natural force." The African - Americans in the city did not go beyond certain limits to avoid this "white force." They paid "mute tribute to it" when they lived in their prescribed corner of the city. Bigger had often felt the desire to reach out to other African-American people in solidarity to resist the "white force," but he had always felt too much difference between himself and them to unite with them. He sees the African-American people walking on the sidewalks as he rides past them on the street car and thinks the only way things can get better is if all of the African-American people acted together and were ruled to go in one direction whole-heartedly. He had liked lately to hear of men who ruled other people. He had heard of Japan conquering China, of Mussolini invading Spain, of Hitler killing the Jews. He did not consider the morality of these acts, only that they would help him escape. He wishes for an African-American man to "whip the black people into a tight band and together they would act and end fear and shame." He knew he had fought Gus yesterday because of fear. He felt that European Americans "ruled him by conditioning him in his relations to his own people."
He arrives at the Dalton house and sees the car still parked in the front. Images of Mary's severed head dominate his thoughts. He imagines himself running away, but decides to continue on. He goes to the basement and sees Peggy at the furnace. She tells him he needs to add more coal. He keeps seeing images of Mary's body. He wonders if he will have to kill Peggy. She questions him about the car in the driveway. He tells her Mary told him to leave it out. She leaves and he stands still for a long time. He looks around the basement for signs of what happened there last night. He sees a piece of bloody newspaper. He looks inside the furnace and sees no signs of the body, only his own image of it. He sees an impression of Mary's body in the furnace "Like the oblong mound of fresh clay of a newly made grave, the red coals revealed the bent outline of Mary's body." He has the feeling that if he touches the coals, Mary's body would come out of them unburnt. He throws the newspaper inside and shuts the fan off since there is no chance of a scent now. He pulls the lever for more coal. He cannot poke around in the fire for fear that some part of Mary is still there.
He puts the communist papers in his room. He runs back to the furnace to shake
the ashes down so the fire will keep burning. When he tries to do so,
a vivid image of Mary's face comes to him and he steps back. He takes
the trunk and carries it to the car. He gets behind the steering wheel
to wait for Mary. After waiting five minutes, he rings for Peggy, who
tells him Mary is not there and that he should take the trunk to the station.
She asks him again if Mary told him to leave the car out all night. He
tells her Jan was in the car. Peggy assumes Mary was "up to some
of her pranks," and tells him to take the trunk to the station. He
drops the trunk off at the station and returns to the Daltons.
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. 09 May 2017