Native Son

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Deputy coroner Character Analysis

The man presiding over the inquest, in front of the grand jury, the deputy coroner insists that Bessie’s body be laid out before Bigger and the remainder of the group assembled. Max objects that this is being done only to incite the mob against Bigger, but the deputy coroner claims Bessie’s body is necessary to establish the fact of her murder.

Deputy coroner Quotes in Native Son

The Native Son quotes below are all either spoken by Deputy coroner or refer to Deputy coroner . 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 3 Quotes

Now listen, Mr. Max. No question asked in this room will inflame the public mind any more than has the death of Mary Dalton, and you know it. You have the right to question any of these witnesses, but I will not tolerate any publicity-seeking by your kind here!

Related Characters: Deputy coroner (speaker), Mary Dalton , Max
Page Number: 319
Explanation and Analysis:

The deputy coroner, who is handling the prosecution in the case at this preliminary stage, does all that he can to stoke the flames of white anger in Chicago. A great many people are violently angry at Bigger for killing a white woman - and the racist elements in that city see this murder as an inevitable part of the racial violence they believe to exist in the Black Belt. In other words, the deputy coroner wants the jury, composed of white men, to see this as a crime of racial score-setting on Bigger's part - in the hopes that this race-baiting attitude will cause them to convict Bigger and sentence him to death.

Max, on his side, tries to show that Bigger is a human being who made a series of horrible mistakes and who committed terrible crimes - but that he is a human being all the same, and therefore deserving of human sympathy. But the deputy coroner disputes this in court as mere "publicity-seeking" - that is, the deputy coroner believes that any defense that Max offers is fundamentally out of line, since, to him, Bigger is indefensible. 

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Deputy coroner Character Timeline in Native Son

The timeline below shows where the character Deputy coroner appears in Native Son. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
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
...sworn in and handed a piece of metal by one of the court employees. The deputy coroner presiding asks Mrs. Dalton if she can identify the piece of metal, and she says... (full context)
Whiteness, Blackness, and Racism Theme Icon
Crime and Justice Theme Icon
Anger and Charity Theme Icon
Death, Life’s Purpose, and the Will to Live Theme Icon
The deputy coroner then asks the (white, male) members of the jury if they have any reasonable objection... (full context)
Whiteness, Blackness, and Racism Theme Icon
Capitalism and Communism Theme Icon
Crime and Justice Theme Icon
Death, Life’s Purpose, and the Will to Live Theme Icon
The deputy coroner then launches into a series of leading questions against Jan, asking whether Jan would approve... (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
The deputy coroner quickly asks Mr. Dalton a few questions about the nature of his charitable work in... (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
The deputy coroner then states that, owing to the “circumstances” of the trial, he finds it necessary to... (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
As Bigger is once again led through the hallways of the coroner’s office and the municipal building, he hears shouts from white citizens, in the building and... (full context)