Bigger Thomas wakes up the next morning, after killing Mary
Dalton, in his home. He is struck with fear and believes that he should go back
to the Dalton’s home to see if Mary’s body has burned in the furnace.
After breakfast, Bigger heads to the Dalton’s where he sees
Peggy about to tend to the furnace. Bigger stops her and offers to do it
himself (out of fear of Peggy discovering the body).
Peggy is concerned about the car being left outside, so
Bigger lies saying that Mary told him to leave it there. Peggy explains that
Jan is a “bad kid” and that Mary is blind to it. Mary is not upstairs
so Bigger takes the trunk to the depot anyway.
Everyone is beginning to grow concerned with Mary’s
disappearance. They start noticing little signs that seem off. Such as Mary not
leaving a note.
Bigger decides to visit Bessie, but only to take his mind
off of things. Bessie is concerned for Bigger and believes that he might have
developed feelings for Mary.
Bigger reveals his large roll of cash. Bessie is not as
impressed by the money, instead she is frightened by the large sum and she
demands to know what Bigger did to get the money. He comes up with a story, and
states that he wants to write a letter asking for money. Bessie is still
worried that bigger isn’t being honest. Bessie’s concern is that Mary will
return home. Bigger assures her that Mary won’t show up, and this makes Bessie
scared and suspicious. Bigger threatens to leave her, manipulating Bessie into
Bigger returns to the Dalton’s where Bigger is asked to
retrieve the trunk from the depot. He goes and gets it and then brings it down
to the basement where he is confronted by a detective that Mr. Dalton hired.
Britten finds the communist pamphlets that Jan gave to
bigger, and he accuses Bigger of being a communist. Bigger replies that Jan
gave him the pamphlets. Britten brings Jan into the basement and Bigger feels a
sense of shame, but this does not prevent him from repeating the same lies that
he told earlier. Jan lies about not seeing Mary the night before but it’s soon
found out to be a lie. Jan looks more guilty after telling the lie and he
storms out of the house.
Bigger leaves the house and heads to Bessie’s where he
begins to write the ransom note. Bessie is begging him not to do it. Soon,
bigger reveals the truth about what really happened that night. He manipulates
her into thinking that she is guilty too, he also threatens to kill her,
initially forcing her to join him.
Bigger leaves and slips the note under the front door of the
Dalton’s house. He goes around back and heads inside. He tells himself that he
will clean out the furnace’s ashes in the morning.
Bigger begins to eat some food in the kitchen, when Mr.
Dalton bursts in saying Mary has been kidnapped. He has read the note and
everyone is in despair.
Soon, the press arrive and are begging for a story. At first, no one speaks, but soon Mr. Dalton
tells the press to put in the papers that he will comply to the note.
The Press want to ask Bigger a few questions, but Bigger
won’t speak. Bigger begins clearing out the ashes. There is a large amount of
ash in the furnace and he can’t contain the smoke, the whole basement fills with black smoke and
it draws everyone’s attention. Someone offers to help and then finds bones in
the ashes. Bigger flees the house.
Bigger flees to Bessie’s. Telling her that the plan is off.
He says that the murder was an accident and that they need to leave and hide.
Bessie is sobbing out of fear. They soon leave and head for some abandoned
They set up a small bed and try to sleep. Bigger is very
scared that Bessie will slow him down and get them caught, so he smashes her
head repeatedly with a brick and then throws her body down an airshaft. Soon he
realized that the cash he took from Mary’s purse was with Bessie’s body. He is
left with nothing but his gun.
Bigger is now left to hide in abandoned houses and houses up
for rent as he discovers that all of the black belt is blocked off and being
searched by police.
Bigger soon gets caught by the police.