INTRODUCTION OF AUTHOR: Richard Wright was born in Natchez, Mississippi. When he was six years old, his father, Nathan Wright deserted the family for whateverreason. His mother, Ella, became the breadwinner of the family.Abandoned by herhusband and unable to establish economic independence from her strict mother, Ellasuffered greatly.
A strong woman who faces terrible adversity, she trained Richard to bestrong and to take care of himself. Later, the feisty, independent spirit Richard developedat home leaded him to refuse to accept the codes of behavior the white world has set forSouthern blacks. When Richard finally decided to become writer, that career representeda declaration of independence from those in the black community.PLOT SUMMARY: The opening chapter recounts Wright’s early childhood in Natchez,Mississippi, and his family’s move to Memphis. It describes his early rebellion againstparental authority, his poverty and hunger, and his unsupervised life on the streets whilehis mother is at work. Then the Wrights move to the home of Richard’s Aunt Maggie.
Buttheir pleasant life there ends when whites kill Maggie’s husband. Later the threat ofviolence by whites forces Maggie to flee again. Richard’s mother has a stroke.
Richard issent to his Uncle Clark’s, but he is unhappy there and insists on returning to his mother’s. Richard confronts his Aunt Addie, who teaches at the Seventh-Day Adventist churchschool. He also resists his grandmother’s attempts to convert him to religious faith. And hewrites his first story.
Richard gets a job selling newspapers but quits when he finds that the newspapers espouse racist views. Later, his grandfather dies. Richard gets a jobworking for white people. Then he is baptized in his mother’s church. Finally, he hasanother near-violent confrontation with a relative.
Richard publishes his first story. Thereaction from his family is overwhelmingly negative. Richard becomes class valedictorian.But he refuses to give the speech written for him by the principal.
Richard has severalterrifying confrontations with whites. In the most important of these confrontations, he isforced out of a job because he dares to ask to learn the skills of the trade.Richard learnsto steal.
By stealing he acquires enough money to leave the Deep South.Richard finds aplace to stay in Memphis. The owner of his rooming house encourages him to marry herdaughter. Richard takes another job with an optical company. The foreman tries toprovoke a fight between him and a black employee of another company. Richard borrowsa library card and discovers the hard-hitting style of columnist H.
L. Mencken. He beginsto read voraciously.Richard leaves for Chicago at the end of the novel. Wright creates an image of himself as a boy who is sensitive to the external worldand to his own inner reality. He wants to bring to the white American audience what itmeans to be black in the white world. It discusses the main theme which have beenoccurres in many slave narratives: isolation from the mainstream society, the familysstruggle to remain united, dreams and longing for a better future, violence both againstand by blacks, the quest for literacy and freedom.
Black Boy portrays the deprivationWright faces growing up. It shows poverty, hunger, lack of emotional support, miserableliving conditions, and Richard’s response to these difficulties. The book also considersfamily life. For Richard, home is a place of intense emotional conflict, and his family forceshim to fight back constantly in order to be able to pursue his own path.
But the family alsooffers support in times of crisis, for example, when his mother has a stroke. Many readers think the central focus of Wright’s story is on his development intoan artist and intellectual. From this perspective, the book is about the influences that shapeWright’s desire to be a writer, the experiences that mold his creative outlook, and the obstacles he must overcome to escape the limited environment in which he is growing up.These readers feel that many of Wright’s hardships are those of any sensitive and rebelliousindividual in a world that doesn’t respect those qualities. They see the novel’sconclusion less as a flight from racism and more as a move toward a new career andidentity as a writer.
Which of these two major themes do you think is more central? Or areRichard Wright was the grandson of slaves. His early life, and lives of his parentsand liberated grandparents, were devasted by the consequences of this terrible inheritance. Black Boy was influenceed by these historical perpectives.
Black slaves, brought in chainsfrom Africa, played a major role in laying the economic foudations of the United States. These enslaved people were not permitted to establish bonds in the strange new land withpeople they knew, but were sold and disbanded. In the early 1900s, antiblack violenceincreased. Between 1910 and 1920, Southern agricuture was gripped by a severeeconomic depression due to crop damage caused by flooding and the boll weevil.
In thoseyears, about 500000 blacks moved to the North, attracked by new industrial jobs. In theNorth, blacks continued to face discrimination in hiring practices and segregation inCONCLUSION: By reading Wrights record of childhood and youth, my understandingsabout the blacks lives increased. It provived a voice for many people who endured livesof wretched fear and poverty in United States. Black Boy catched my interests as I readthrough it. Wrights creates an image of himself as a boy who is sensitive at othe externalworld and to his own inner reality.
He wants to bring to the white American audiencewhat it means to be black in a white world. And he succeeds brilliantly.Bibliography: