Black Boy By Richard Wright Essay

Black Boy By Richard Wright Essay

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Racism has been an important issue throughout history, especially in the United States, where after many struggles, civil rights were finally achieved. Though the key to understanding the segregation that happened is by looking at past from different perspectives. In, Black Boy by Richard Wright is autobiography story is about his experiences growing up as an African American in the segregated South. While, Separated Pasts by Melton A. McLaurin is an autobiography story about him growing up in a town called Wade, as a white who formed relationships with blacks. Through Melton and Richard personal experience of segregation in the South from opposite sides, they were able to find their own understanding of race and identity.
The setting where they lived during childhood plays a role in the development of their minds. Early on Richard’s childhood was rough as he described, “In Memphis we lived in a one-story brick tenement. The stone buildings and the concrete pavements looked bleak and hostile to me. The absence of green, growing things made the city seem dead” (Wright 27). The mention of the lack of plants simply implies that the typical Black family were poor, as the color of green symbolizes wealth and prosperity that only the whites have at that time. This is similar to Melton’s experience living as a white family in hometown of Wade where he point out that, “Only the “better” homes of the village had lawns, not the smooth green lawns of Better Homes and Gardens but lawns of several grasses and a variety of weeds, with the greenish-brown hue of army camouflage” (McLaurin 10). Melton observation like Richard convey the message that presence of green represent the wealth of the home owner. Here again Richard uses the word “b...


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...tion. Melton meets a black named Street that changed him, “When I finally realized that Street was aware of his intellectual superiority, that he saw whites as ignorant, yet another prop was knocked from beneath the framework of my segregationist rationale”(McLaurin 52). Melton learns a lot from Street even though his grandfather friends call him a “crazy nigger”.
Both Richard and Melton found their identity and their understanding of race through both of there personal experiences and through interactions living in the segregated south. Melton through his relationship with black got to learn about them more which changed his rationale. Richard was able to feel what it’s like to be outside the segregated South and start a new life. Ultimately, both author were able to use their childhood in the South to tell us about their experience in the southern United States.

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