Richard Wright proposes that utter poverty and societal racism lead to criminal activity in "Native Son" (which is still powerful, not to mention controversial, more than 70 years after it was written).
“Yessuh,” Bigger whispered, struggling to control his feelings, hating Jan violently because he knew he was hurting him; wanting to strike Jan with something because Jan’s wide,
incredulous stare made him feel hot guilt to the very core of him.
He rested his black fingers on the edge of the white table and a silent laugh burst from his parted lips as he saw himself for a split second in a
lurid objective light: he had killed a rich white girl and had burned her body after cutting her head off and had lied to throw the blame on someone else and had written a kidnap note demanding ten thousand dollars and yet he stood here afraid to touch food on the table, food which undoubtedly was his own.
And yet, whether in running away or in fighting, he had felt the need of the clean satisfaction of facing this thing in all its fullness, of fighting it out in the wind and sunlight, in front of those whose hate for him was so
unfathomably deep that, after they had shunted him off into a corner of the city to rot and die, they could turn to him, as Mary had that night in the car, and say: “I’d like to know how your people live.”
complex system of paths or tunnels in which it is easy to get lost
Sometimes, in his room or on the sidewalk, the world seemed to him a strange
labyrinth even when the streets were straight and the walls were square; a chaos which made him feel that something in him should be able to understand it, divide it, focus it.
a person who joins with another in carrying out some plan (especially an unethical or illegal plan)
Police are not yet satisfied with the account Erlone has given of himself and are of the conviction that he may be linked to the Negro as an
accomplice; they feel that the plan of the murder and kidnapping was too elaborate to be the work of a Negro mind.
Holding the paper in
taut fingers, he read phrases: “Negro ordered to clean out ashes...reluctant to respond...dreading discovery...smoke-filled basement...tragedy of Communism and racial mixture...possibility that kidnap note was work of Reds...”
influence or urge by gentle urging, caressing, or flattering
He tried not to listen, but it seeped into his feelings, whispering of another way of life and death,
coaxing him to lie down and sleep and let them come and get him, urging him to believe that all life was a sorrow that had to be accepted.