The Conformity in a White Society: Understanding Richard Wright's Black Boy

The Conformity in a White Society: Understanding Richard Wright's Black Boy

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“I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of the hunger for life that gnaws in us all, to keep alive in our hearts a sense of the inexpressibly human.” (Richard Wright) In 1945 an intelligent black boy named Richard Wright made the brave decision to write and publish an autobiography illustrating the struggles, trials, and tribulations of being a Negro in the Jim Crow South. Ever since Wright wrote about his life in Black Boy many African American writers have been influenced by Wright to do the same. Wright found the motivation and inspiration to write Black Boy through the relationships he had with his family and friends, the influence of folk art and famous authors of the early 1900s, and mistreatment of blacks in the South and uncomfortable racial barriers.
Wright had a large family that all lived close to one another in Jackson, Mississippi, but Wright felt isolated from them because he didn’t have complete faith in the beliefs and values his relatives had. At a young age, Wright’s father left his family, leaving his own family to support themselves with little money. Wright constantly blamed his father for his constant hunger, and “whenever I felt hunger I thought of him with a deep biological bitterness.” (Wright 16). Living on practically nothing, Wright’s mom, Ella began to push her son into becoming the man of the household. Despite Wright’s constant fear of getting hurt, he slowly started to develop bravery. Without being brave, Wright would have never found the courage to write about his own life. The only source of support his family received was from his maternal grandmother, who ...

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...Jim Crow era also made it difficult for Wright to become as influential of an author as he would have liked to be. Wright is just the beginning of many African American authors sharing their own perspective, positive or negative, of the African American experience.

Works Cited

Ellison, Ralph. "Richard Wright's Blues." Gale Literature Resources Center. Gale, 2005. Web. 18 Jan. 2014.
Labbe, Sarah L. "Writers of the Harlem Renaissance at Odds: Wright and Hurston's Different Approaches." Salve Digital Commons. Salve Regina Universtiy, 2013. Web. 31 Jan. 2014. .
Whitted, Qiana J. "Using my grandmother's life as a model." Gale Literature Resources Center. Gale, 2004. Web. 18 Jan. 2014.
Wright, Richard. Black Boy: (American Hunger), a Record of Childhood and Youth. New York: HarperPerennial Modern Classics, 2008. Print.

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