Alienation Exposed in Richard Wright's Black Boy

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Alienation Exposed in Black Boy         

From the early days of Richard’s childhood, Richard was always alienated from his environment.  Even though he tried to distance himself from the prejudice all around him, the white people still tried to turn him into the stereotypical southern black person.  However, throughout the story Richard is also alienated by his own people and perhaps even more then from the white people.

            Richard was always a rebel, from his boyhood to his older teenage years.  Richard’s grandmother was always excessively beating him.  From the beginning, Richard would not subdue himself to the white man like the other black people around.  The white people knew that he was different from other black men.  Whites were scared because Richard challenged the system that they had created to insure white supremacy.  They feared Richard, and some of the white people felt it necessary to act out their racist feelings in order to cover up their fear. 

White coworkers beat Richard because his boss was kind to him. Richard later had to leave a good job because those racist co-workers would “kill” him.  When the principal at Richard’s school had asked Richard to give a speech to a large audience of white and black people, Richard refused to read the principal’s prepared speech. By reading the principal’s speech, Richard was saying what the white power wanted him to say and to Richard this would be giving in to the very thing he hated so much.  Richard was willing to leave school without a diploma instead of this.  White people alienated Richard from his environment because he did not accept the way of life that other black people did.

            Richard’s relatives never understood Richard and because of this he was alienated from his family and his own people.   Shorty is the young black boy who gets beat by the white people and jokes about it.  Richard hates Shorty because he accepts what Richard finds so disgusting.  Richard goes over in his mind the different choices he can make to deal with the feelings he has.  Richard does not want to “give in” and be a slave to the white people.  He would never give in and become a slave because he has hated that idea since day one.  Richard contemplates transferring his hatred and frustration out on other blacks, but knows that will not aid the situation.

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"Alienation Exposed in Richard Wright's Black Boy." 24 Jun 2018
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  He decides not to act like his abusive father and care about nothing other than sex and alcohol.  Richards peers and relatives are distanced from him because they accept white rule over their lives, and he does not.

            Richard himself alienates himself away from his surroundings.  He is always asking himself questions trying to find a way out of his situation.  He asks himself why white people are out to destroy him, why does he have fear of whites, why can’t he just leave?  Richard asks himself these questions even though he knows that there “are no answers” to hopeless questions.  Richard tries to distance himself from his environment because there are no answers in his present situation, and he won’t find those answer until later in life.

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