There were also first time discoveries. Having heard for years that Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road was one of the great but underappreciated American novels, I searched it out. I have spent the months since then pressing it into the hands of anybody who will take it, including yours. Their Eyes Were Watching God , Zora Neale Hurston’s great story of a black woman surviving whatever God and man throws at her, was not part of the required reading list when I was in school. It is now part of my personal canon. Henry Green? Hadn’t read Henry Green. Finally read Loving . Loved it.
Jan Erlone: Jan is a member of the Communist Party as well as the boyfriend of the very rich Mary Dalton. Bigger attempts to frame him for the murder of Mary. Even though Bigger attempts to frame him, Jan uses this to try to prove that black people aren't masters of their own destinies, but rather, a product of an oppressive white society. Jan had already been seeking for a way to understand the 'negro' so as to organize them along communist lines against the rich like Mr. Dalton. He is not able to fully do so, but he is able to put aside his personal trauma and persuade Max to help Bigger. He represents the idealistic young Marxist who hopes to save the world through revolution. However, before he can do that, he must understand the 'negro' much more than he thinks he does.