Non Fiction “The Price of Keeping One’s Place” by Richard Wright

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Richard Wright’s “The Price of Keeping One’s Place” nonfiction essay is very detailed and may be explicit to some. For example, Richard Wright’s uses ethnicity, gender, and race to capture the harsh memories of his past creating an explicit point of view in his nonfiction essay The price of Keeping One’s Place. On the first reading the ending seem very sad and predictable for belief. Nevertheless, Wright did what he thought was right to survive in a white supremacist world he once thought he knew all so well. Moreover, Wright found an approach to survive in a world where being colored was degrading.

Richard needed a job he then went to the address he received from school. The family needed a boy to do chores the job payed two dollars a week and he received breakfast and dinner. The woman asked Wright did he steal Wright was shocked and wondered why she would ask him such a thing, Wright then recalled how whites looked upon negros as a variety of children. He received his breakfast and his bread was stale and his molasses had green mold in it he knew he couldn’t eat it. Soon after Wright began to head home the woman asked him why he was going to school Wright replied to be a writer. The woman degraded Wright as if he will never amount to anything by saying who put such ideas into your nigger head As, wright headed home he knew he couldn’t return to the house.

After being treated poorly by the first white woman Wright began his search for his next job. Richard received a second address from school for another white lady who needed a boy to milk a cow, feed chickens and gather vegetables. He knew he didn’t know how to milk a cow, but that wasn’t going to deter him from getting the job an at least being taught how. The woman asked did he know how to milk a cow Wright told her he indeed he didn’t know how. The woman said and I quote “Nigger you live in Jackson and don’t know how to milk a cow?” (304). As just a kid Wright’s dreams were being torn apart One woman assumed, I stole and another, amazed that I couldn’t milk a cow. Wright realized they all were turning out the same just different in detail.

The next day I went searching for yet another job at this optical company. I got the job of learning how to do a trade. The boss Mr. Crane told Wright “He wanted to train a Negro boy in the optical trade; he wanted to help him, guide him” (305). The older worker Mr. Pease was supposed to show Wright the ropes. A month went by a Wright still hasn’t been trained for his trade. Wright asked Reynolds to teach him about the work. That’s when everything changed Reynolds said and I quote “What are you trying to do, get smart, Nigger?” (305). They beat him, spat in his face and constantly rammed his head up against the wall. Wright was accused of calling Mr. Pease just Pease. They assumed Wright was lying as he begged for his life, he said “I’ll leave,” I promised. “I’ll leave right now!” (307).

However, Wright had to discover three things whether he would stay and keep quiet at his first job, get a new job, or become someone he wasn’t at his third job. Even though Wright was wrongfully accused he never let them break him mentally, but physically it took a tole on him. Richard was a brave young man with ambition and knew exactly what he wanted and knew how he wanted to be treated.


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Non Fiction “The Price of Keeping One’s Place” by Richard Wright. (2021, Sep 20). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/non-fiction-the-price-of-keeping-ones-place-by-richard-wright/

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