Black Boy by Richard Wright

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Black Boy Essay

Analyse the process through which Richard becomes independent and highlight your observations through judicious textual references which capture the power of Wright's narrative style.

This novel focuses on the struggle for identity of a young black boy in the Deep South. It is a powerful testament of his life. In this novel, Wright uses writing to free himself from the prejudice he is constantly facing, gradually he find that writing allows him to explore new ideas and expand his imagination, not only this, but Wright discovers through self realisation that he faces a need to write in order to break out from the constraining world of race, religion and family.

Throughout his life, Richard faces the need for a loving family to help and encourage him, but his family in a way, unknowingly help to form his independence. Throughout his youth, he faces the need to be independent, for instance regarding his negligent father who appears to despise Richard. Richard's father even decides to abandon the family after he has an affair with another woman in order to live with her and form a new family. When the parents are facing each other in court over financial issues, Richard expects his father to be humble, perhaps even ashamed but his father acts confidently and wins the approval of the court. ‘'It had been painful to watch my mother crying and my father laughing.'' The mother was in a state of emotional turmoil, yet the father still did not support her. Richard's father is a pathetic example to Richard of a man who has responded to the struggle of being black by drinking and womanizing. Richard's mother on the other hand, could be considered a much better role model for him. She forces him to fight back when he feels people are being unjust towards him, she teaches him to be a fighter, for instance, when he is beaten and the grocery shopping money is continuously taken from him, his mother simply reacts by giving him a stick and telling him ‘‘If these boys bother you, then fight.'' She tries to make him tough and independent because she feels that this is the only way he can survive.

Richard is often disciplined through the church and religion through his grandmother and his mother. At moments he is very close to being pulled-in by religion. ‘'While listening to the vivid language of the sermons I was pulled towards emotional belief, but as soon as I went out of the church and saw the bright sunshine and felt the throbbing life of the people in the streets I knew that none of it was true and that nothing would happen.

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