Native Son

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Buddy Thomas Character Analysis

Bigger’s brother, Buddy tends to take Bigger’s side when Vera and Ma tell Bigger he must find a job. Buddy, younger than Bigger, looks up to his older brother, and, after Bigger’s arrest, Buddy even says he will help Bigger to violently escape the prison, if necessary—although this is, of course, impossible.

Buddy Thomas Quotes in Native Son

The Native Son quotes below are all either spoken by Buddy Thomas or refer to Buddy Thomas. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Whiteness, Blackness, and Racism Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Harper Perennial edition of Native Son published in 1993.
Book 2 Quotes

Bigger stepped back, thunder-struck. He felt in his pocket for the money; it was not there. He took the money from Buddy and stuffed it hurriedly in his pocket.

Related Characters: Bigger Thomas, Buddy Thomas
Page Number: 110
Explanation and Analysis:

At this point, Bigger begins making mistakes (apart, of course, from the series of enormously horrific acts he committed at the Daltons, not least of which was murdering and dismembering Mary Dalton). That is - he becomes less and less adept at covering up the traces of his crime. One of those is the money he has taken from the Dalton family, which he knows he must conceal. And yet, at the crucial moment, when he is to walk out the door and head back to the Dalton house, he leaves this money behind, and his innocent and unsuspecting brother, Buddy, finds it.

Bigger knows that it is unlikely Buddy will tell anyone about the money - at least on purpose. But Bigger also senses that the mistakes he's making here are mistakes he might make in other venues - if, say, he has to talk to the Daltons or to the police. He worries, then, that he will reveal his guilt without meaning to. 

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Buddy Thomas Character Timeline in Native Son

The timeline below shows where the character Buddy Thomas appears in Native Son. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1
Whiteness, Blackness, and Racism Theme Icon
Capitalism and Communism Theme Icon
Death, Life’s Purpose, and the Will to Live Theme Icon
...consists of a mother and three children: Bigger, the oldest; Vera, the middle child; and Buddy, the youngest. As is their custom, the two boys turn their heads so that Ma... (full context)
Capitalism and Communism Theme Icon
Anger and Charity Theme Icon
Death, Life’s Purpose, and the Will to Live Theme Icon
...begin to scream, begging Bigger to do something about it—to kill the rat. Bigger tells Buddy to block off the rat’s hole in the room with a wooden box; the rat... (full context)
Capitalism and Communism Theme Icon
Crime and Justice Theme Icon
Anger and Charity Theme Icon
Death, Life’s Purpose, and the Will to Live Theme Icon
Ma chastises Bigger, wondering aloud why she even gave birth to him, and tells Buddy to put newspaper over the bloody spot on the floor where the rat was killed.... (full context)
Capitalism and Communism Theme Icon
Anger and Charity Theme Icon
Death, Life’s Purpose, and the Will to Live Theme Icon
...it, the family will be removed from the relief rolls, which will further impoverish them. Buddy seems to support Bigger and tells Ma and Vera that Bigger will do the interview,... (full context)
Whiteness, Blackness, and Racism Theme Icon
Capitalism and Communism Theme Icon
Crime and Justice Theme Icon
Anger and Charity Theme Icon
Death, Life’s Purpose, and the Will to Live Theme Icon
...gun out and slides it under his pillow, and goes instantly to sleep next to Buddy, leaving until the next day the remainder of his planning, and the crafting of his... (full context)
Book 2
Whiteness, Blackness, and Racism Theme Icon
Capitalism and Communism Theme Icon
Crime and Justice Theme Icon
Vera and Buddy soon also wake up, and Vera, like Ma, asks Bigger if he got the job,... (full context)
Whiteness, Blackness, and Racism Theme Icon
Capitalism and Communism Theme Icon
Crime and Justice Theme Icon
Buddy comes after Bigger and meets him on the staircase; Buddy hands his brother the large... (full context)
Book 3
Whiteness, Blackness, and Racism Theme Icon
Capitalism and Communism Theme Icon
Crime and Justice Theme Icon
Anger and Charity Theme Icon
Death, Life’s Purpose, and the Will to Live Theme Icon
...dropped out of her sewing classes because of the looks the other students give her; Buddy offers to break Bigger out of jail, but Bigger tells Buddy to be quiet and... (full context)
Whiteness, Blackness, and Racism Theme Icon
Capitalism and Communism Theme Icon
Crime and Justice Theme Icon
Anger and Charity Theme Icon
Death, Life’s Purpose, and the Will to Live Theme Icon
...by Jan and Max, who have also volunteered to defend the gang. Ma pulls Vera, Buddy, and Bigger into a circle, and prays loudly for Bigger’s soul. On their way out... (full context)