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Analysis

Native Son Steaminess Rating

Exactly how steamy is this story?

R

So, we really do think the sex scene in this book should be rated R, but you won’t believe us unless you have a recently published copy of the book; older versions cut out a lot of the sexually explicit sections. The first "sex" scene occurs when Jack and Bigger both masturbate in the movie theater. The movie they watch shows Mary Dalton enjoying her boyfriend Jan on the beach in Florida, perhaps not actually having sex, but at least having a heavy-duty make out session. Then and later, as Bigger drives Jan and Mary around in the park after they’ve all been drinking together, he glimpses Mary’s white thigh in the rearview mirror while Jan and Mary are making out (perhaps having sex) in the backseat. We’ll never know if they actually had sex or not because Jan denies that they did. After Jan, Mary, and Bigger get drunk, Bigger has to help Mary to her room because she’s too hammered to make it up the stairs alone. As he helps her, Bigger realizes he’s never been alone with a white girl before, much less in her room – and that brings about some sort of desire. Well, that and her pushing her pelvis up against Bigger and kissing him. But, instead of having sex with her, he accidentally kills her. Bigger does get some real action with Bessie, though. The afternoon after he kills he goes and hangs out with Bessie and they have sex. Sadly, shortly afterwards he rapes Bessie just before he kills her.

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