“Black Boy” by Richard Wright

Updated January 8, 2022

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“Black Boy” by Richard Wright essay

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Narrated by Richard Wright himself, Black Boy is an autobiography following Wright as he began to comprehend the significance of race/color in America and how it was used to determine the value of a person. While telling his childhood story, Wright is perfectly clear in his writing that he was not only raised in an odious society, but he was raised as a black boy with no father figure to look up to. The author takes the reader through his day to day struggle of hunger, degrade, and his unstable living conditions.

Black Boy revealed many incidents of white on black violence; but because Whites view themselves as the superior race, justice was never truly served for the color. The heart of this autobiography focused on the relation between the Whites and the Blacks. Wright was very intrigued by racism and was anxious to learn more. As he was growing up,  he was exposed to the streets and got a front row seat to oppression. Once, he witnessed a White man dragging and beating a Black woman for the sole reason of the color of her skin.

What really opened his eyes from this situation was the fact that no one even looked twice let alone try to save her. Later on, he learned that not all White people are racist due to some of his encounters with Whites who actually showed him respect and treated him like a fellow human being. Alongside facing discrimination from White folks, Wright never felt in place among his Black community. From a young age, Wright found an interest in education and literature. Due to the lack of education available, the black community looks down at his interest and never took his potential and wants seriously. His situation would discourage most, but not Richard Wright.

Wright was motivated to pursue his goal and used every opportunity to educate himself. He would learn new things from the streets, his jobs, church and from his family. Erasing his former label as an intellectual, he taught himself what most people would consider college level education. Richard Wright’s autobiography was an exquisitely written novel. The book is about a day to day experience of an African American boy, raised during Jim Crow laws in the south. Wright made it a priority to give readers a vivid picture to help understand the situation and circumstances.

While reading this book, a reader could almost experience his life alongside Wright. This book was very easy to follow and was separated by chapters. Since the main events are divided in chronological order, readers will be able to follow the story very easily. Although this was written half a century ago, it still impacts the lives of many African Americans today.

For many African Americans today, they are treated as second class citizen just like Wright was in the story.  This is a good read because this story can be passed down from generation to generation as a learning experience about the hardships of their ancestors. This is a must read for not only for African Americans but to any and every race to show that no race is better than another. Just like Wright, having good character and good work ethic is what matters most.

“Black Boy” by Richard Wright essay

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“Black Boy” by Richard Wright. (2022, Jan 08). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/black-boy-by-richard-wright/


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