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Black Boy

Essay by 24  •  December 13, 2010  •  584 Words (3 Pages)  •  797 Views

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Black Boy is an autobiographical narrative of Richard Wright’s life in the segregated “Jim Crow” South. Throughout his life he overwhelmed with seemingly endless strife, only for brief moments being truly happy. Amongst all the adversities and challenges, he is often taken by his own internal struggles and finds himself frequently lost in thought. Embracing literature as a ground for his success he overcomes the ignorance forced upon him by the people around him. It is also because of those same people that he is plagued by loneliness and violence; he struggles, lives and prospers in his coming of age story.

As a child, Richard is lied to or silenced when he asks his family deep questions. If he is simply curious about something he sees and asks about it, he will most likely hear "Why do you want to know?" and when he can’t come up with a practical reason, he’s laughed at. Also, he never knew or understood his own father. Seeing his father abandon his family, and suddenly becoming the man of the house, changes Richard forever. He has a lot of thoughts about his own manliness, a few of which are based in wanting to be as little like his father as possible. On top of that he is ignorant of his whole family's past and heritage. Even when he asks simply "is Granny white?" because she looks white, he doesn’t get a straight answer. Everyone seems either too afraid or too angry to explain the differences between Whites and Blacks in America and yet more and more, Richard sees that forced ignorance is what keeps Blacks from really knowing and understanding each other.

He never knows his father, which obliges him to become the father in the Wright family, skipping neighborhood games to work and falteringly trying to "become a man." This isolates him from people his own age, and makes him cautious of his elders. He feels intellectually and spiritually alone in the South, where everyone he knows is religious. His family and friends repeatedly try to convince him he needs

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