Language as the Key to Identity and Social Acceptance in Richard Wright’s Book, Black Boy


Length: 440 words (1.3 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Excellent
Open Document
Need writing help? Check your paper »

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓
Language as the Key to Identity and Social Acceptance in Richard Wright’s Book, Black Boy

According to African American writer, James Baldwin, language is a “vivid and crucial key to identity” and social acceptance. Black Boy, by Richard Wright, defends Baldwin’s belief. In a selected Black Boy passage, where Richard and his friends converse, the rhetorical techniques, pathos and warrants assist to convey Wright’s own attitude toward the importance of language as a key to identity and social acceptance.

The idea that language is important to identity and social acceptance is defended in the passage by the utilization of pathos. Diction largely relays the comfortability of Richard and his friends with each other by not speaking in proper English, with phrases like, “that ain’t gonna do you no good,” and words like “miz” for “miss” and “scareda” as “scared of.” Also, syntax is used to make short explanatory sentences after each blurb of dialog: “An angry grunt of supreme racial assertion.” Language as an indicator of social acceptance is also seen in the word choice, with a wide array of cuss words, like “sonofabitch”, “hell”, and “nigger”. Repetition is developed through out the passage with the word “silence,” to indicate the identity of the boys with language. Wright also incorporates personification, personifying the boys talk being able to “weave, roll, surge, spurt, veer, swell…” showing the comfortability and social acceptance of each other because of language. Richard Wright’s use of pathos helps to defend Baldwin’s beliefs on language.

Another rhetorical technique that aids as a defense for Baldwin’s views is Wright’s use of value-based assumptions, or warrants. The boys establish their black identity through diction, referring to on another as “nigger” and “we”, “naïve” and “race”. Many assumptions are made about whites with rhetorical questions like, “Man, ain’t they ugly?” and other race related questions. The conversation of Wright and his friends make the assumption that whites treat blacks poorly, which establishes identity through language. Agreeing of the other boys with the “racial assertion” further leads to social acceptance. Repetition of negative statements about “whites” also further strengthens the warrants. “The enemy is an animal to be killed on sight” is a metaphor, which illustrates the black assumptions of whites through language.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Language as the Key to Identity and Social Acceptance in Richard Wright’s Book, Black Boy." 123HelpMe.com. 13 Dec 2017
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=25699>.
Title Length Color Rating  
Language and Identity in Richard Wright’s Black Boy Essay - Language and Identity in Richard Wright’s Black Boy Richard Wright portrays the many aspects of social acceptance and the use of language as a key to identity throughout the novel. He brings the pages to life by using sufficient elements to enhance his writing. Through these displays of rhetorical techniques, the appeal to the reader is dramatically increased which results in a more personal and overall significant meaning to the book Black Boy. The claim of social acceptance is especially evident throughout chapter ten....   [tags: Richard Wright’s Black Boy] 415 words
(1.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on The Power of Language in Richard Wright’s Black Boy - The Power of Language in Richard Wright’s Black Boy A stunning realization for Richard Wright in his autobiography Black Boy was the multifaceted uses of language; his words could offend, console, enrage, or be a fatal weapon. In Wright’s unceasing quest for knowledge, he discovers a strange world that makes him feel that he had “overlooked something terribly important in life.” He conveys his amazement at the literary realm through his metaphorical language and curiosity depicting his point of view....   [tags: Richard Wright’s Black Boy] 596 words
(1.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Use of Diction and Imagery in Richard Wright’s Black Boy Essay - Use of Diction and Imagery in Richard Wright’s Black Boy Black Boy, which was written by Richard Wright, is an autobiography of his upbringing and of all of the trouble he encountered while growing up. Black Boy is full of drama that will sometimes make the reader laugh and other times make the reader cry. Black Boy is most known for its appeals to emotions, which will keep the reader on the edge of his/her seat. In Black Boy Richard talks about his social acceptance and identity and how it affected him....   [tags: Richard Wright’s Black Boy] 786 words
(2.2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Racism in Richard Wright's Black Boy Essay - Racism in Wright's Black Boy The theme of Richard Wright's autobiography Black Boy is racism. Wright grew up in the deep South; the Jim Crow South of the early twentieth century. From an early age Richard Wright was aware of two races, the black and the white. Yet he never understood the relations between the two races. The fact that he didn't understand but was always trying to, got him into trouble many times. When in Memphis, Wright reluctantly assumed the role society dictated for him, the role of a black boy....   [tags: Wright Black Boy Essays]
:: 3 Works Cited
869 words
(2.5 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
The Importance of Language in Richard Wright’s Novel, Black Boy Essay - The Importance of Language in Richard Wright’s Novel, Black Boy Words are powerful things. They can be used to construct or destruct. In the novel Black Boy, Richard Wright discovers this fact after reading inspirational works written by a man named Mencken. It is at this point in his life where he understands the importance of words. Wright qualifies the idea that language is an important key to identity and social acceptance using figures of speech and warrants. A rhetorical technique used by Wright is this passage is that of metaphors....   [tags: Wright Black Boy Essays] 438 words
(1.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Comparing Richard Wright's Native Son and Black Boy Essay - Critiques on Native Son and Black Boy                                                                                 Bigger has no discernible relationship to himself, to his own             life, to his own people, nor to any, other people- in this respect,         perhaps, he is most American- and his force comes not from his              significance as a social (or anti-social) unit, but from his                significance as the incarnation of a myth. It is remarkable that,           though we follow him step by step from the tenement room to the             death cell, we know as little about him when this journey is ended          as we did when it began; and,...   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays] 887 words
(2.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Language, Identity and Acceptance in Wright’s Autobiography, Black Boy - Language, Identity and Acceptance in Wright’s Autobiography, Black Boy African American writer James Baldwin said that, “ Language is the most vivid and crucial key to identity: It reveals the private, and connects, or divorces one from the larger public or communal identity.” The stories in Black Boy are original and captivating. It identifies Richard Wright as a writer and a person of incredible substance. The language identifies the books time frame and era. And most importantly shows Richard’s journey through social and personal acceptance....   [tags: Wright Black Boy Essays] 591 words
(1.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Impact of Language on Identity and Social Acceptance in Richard Wright’s Novel, Black Boy - The Impact of Language on Identity and Social Acceptance in Richard Wright’s Novel, Black Boy The entire act, the entire situation, the entire experience of discovery is not only unique to each and every individual, but more importantly, a thrilling tumult of emotions gone haywire and perceptions completely altered. Richard Wright, in his autobiographical work Black Boy, attempts to convey the discovery of nothing less than language itself. Employing a wide variety of rhetorical devices and insightful commentaries, Wright expertly conveys his newfound respect for language and its tangible impact on both identity and social acceptance....   [tags: Race African American] 452 words
(1.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Works of Richard Wright Essay - Charles Washington A Fresh Beginning through Writing Through writing anyone can create whatever their desires: people, places, objects, events, anything to get others to view a piece of information of he or she’s choice. Like Clive Lewis said, “You can make anything by writing” (C.S. Lewis). He was accurate in saying that statement. All writers have a different way to communicate to others about themselves and showing people how they feel. One person amongst the group of authors Richard Nathaniel Wright, has drastically indicated his thoughts to the world through his writing....   [tags: discrimination, racism, african american]
:: 12 Works Cited
1465 words
(4.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay about Richard Wright - Richard Wright "Whenever I thought of the essential bleakness of black life in America, I knew that Negroes had never been allowed to catch the full spirit of Western civilization, that they lived somehow in it but not of it. And when I brooded upon the cultural barrenness of black life, I wondered if clean, positive tenderness, love, honor, loyalty, and the capacity to remember were native with man. I asked myself if these human qualities were not fostered, won, struggled and suffered for, preserved in ritual from one generation to another." This passage written in Black Boy, the autobiography of Richard Wright shows the disadvantages of Black people in the 1930's....   [tags: History Rich ard Wright African American Papers]
:: 3 Works Cited
1434 words
(4.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]

Related Searches




With the use of warrants, Baldwin’s statement is again supported.

Language is the key that unlocks the “lock” of identity and social acceptance. Wright’s passage from Black Boy further defends the claim through the use of pathos and value based assumptions (warrants). Blatantly stated, “the culture of one black household was thus transmitted to another black household” through language, serving as the key to identity and social acceptance.



Return to 123HelpMe.com