The autobiography, Black Boy, follows the life of Richard Wright and his experiences as a immature African American adolescent confronting racism in the South. Throughout the novel, Wright focuses on the subjugation society inflicts upon him. He finds trouble in staying employed because he does non move “black” or submissive plenty. He is physically and emotionally attacked for being African American as the bulk of the South contains an highly racist civilization. Wright does non even hold his household to trust on for support because they criticize and beat him every bit good. Differences within his household along with incidences of violent onslaughts and disrespectful linguistic communication pestilence Wright and seek to consume his assurance and individuality.
However, Wright at the same time finds steps within these facets to derive back his individualism and felicity. He fights back through force to continue his right of walking safely in Memphis ; he uses all of his ability to avoid whippings from his household, and he finds joy and sense of worth when he writes narratives. Ultimately, Wright struggles to maintain his sense of individuality in a society that degrades his character, but manages to obtain his individualism in the terminal.
Through force, Wright begins to understand that society is puting out a character for him to accept that is non ab initio his. In the South, he learns he must accept the function as the meek and respectful “nigger.” Wright experiences force one twenty-four hours that teaches him how Whites expect him to move in the South. Wright recounts, “The auto stopped and the white work forces piled out and stood over me. ‘Nigger, ain’t you learned no better sense’n that yet? ’ asked the adult male who hit me. ‘Ain’t you learned to state sir to a white adult male yet? ’” ( 181 ) . Wright is smashed between the eyes with a glass bottle when he does non reply a white adult male by “sir” .
The repeat of inquiries from the white adult male illustrates the authorization the white adult male feels over Wright. The white adult male inquiries Wright as if he is an uneducated kid. His word pick of “sense” portrays that stating “sir” to a white adult male should be common sense. After this incident, Wright “ [ learns ] quickly how to watch white people, to detect their every move, every fleeting look, how to construe what was said and what left unsaid” ( 181 ) . He treats and surveies white people finely to guarantee that he does non upset the balance between the higher citizen and lower citizen, and therefore does non hold to endure their barbarous effects.
As Wright learns he is unable to move of course, society bit by bit shapes him into what it thinks he should be. Wright recalls, “all the violent looks of hatred and ill will that had seeped into us from our milieus, came now to the surface to steer our actions” ( 83 ) . Wright’s use of the “h” initial rhyme in “hate” and “hostility” emphasizes a heavy “h” sound to reenforce the thickness and illustriousness of their struggle, that their differences were non merely on the surface, but blood deep. The “s” initial rhyme in the word, “seeped, ” “surroundings, ” and “surface” creates a low, rattling “s” sound to make a sense of savageness in their actions. As Wright grows, he begins to see the segregation between white and black. He besides begins to accept the function of an angry African American that society casts him to play. He learns that he must move as a quiet and obedient “nigger” as he is invariably beaten whenever he acts otherwise.
Wright’s household besides takes away his freedom to be himself as they systematically beat him. In one incidence, he tells of the clip his Uncle Tom was infuriated with the manner he speaks. His uncle says, “I ne’er heard a sassier black elf than you in all my life” ( 157 ) . Wright does non understand what he said or what he did incorrectly ; yet his uncle is relentless in crushing him, believing that Wright does non cognize how to populate with people. Wright asks “How long was I traveling to be beaten for trifles and less than trifles? ” ( 158 ) . Wright’s oppugning of clip illustrates the fatigue he feels toward his household. He can non digest any more whippings over fiddling affairs. Because of his household members, Wright is trapped in his grandmother’s place. He is unable to talk freely as his household members find him impolite. The one topographic point that Richard Wright should experience comfy, if nowhere else, is his ain place, but he is so alienated by his household that he can non. Wright feels that the lone manner he can get away his mental imprisonment is by traveling to the North, therefore making the North as a symbol of hope.
Language maps as a powerful device that portrays white adult females assailing Wright’s individualism. When Wright hunts for occupations and interacts with white people for the first clip, he experiences a dual consciousness: how he views himself and how the white adult females view him. The linguistic communication that white interviewers use is contemptuous and depicts how stupid they perceive him. After a few interviews Wright “quickly [ learns ] the reality- a Negro’s reality- of the white world” ( 148 ) as being thought of as dumb witted. The first adult female illogically asks Wright if he steals to that white he thinks, “Only an imbecile would hold answered: Yes ma’am. I steal” ( 146 ) . When Wright replies. “Lady, if I was a stealer, I’d ne’er tell anybody, ” the lady bluffly states, “Now, expression, we don’t want a fresh nigga around here” ( 145 ) . The first interviewer seems to believe that black people do non hold adequate sense to lie about stealing, even when they are being interviewed for a occupation place. She considers a black individual with common sense as a “sassy nigger.”
The last interviewer finds it shocking that Wright can non milk a cow as she mentions, “You mean to stand at that place, nigger, and state me that you live in Jackson and don’t cognize how to milk a cow? ” ( 149 ) . She places Wright in the stereotype that all black male childs from Jackson cognize how to milk a cow. The fact that she demanded an reply in surprise illustrates the incredulity she feels in happening one black individual that can non milk a cow. The white adult females stereotype Richard as an uneducated black male child with no degree of intelligence and accomplishment.
They insult his cognition and strip him of his individualism believing that all black male childs are the same. The white adult females demean him doing him to go forth every interview. The portraiture of the white adult females labeling Richard Wright as another dense “nigger” illustrates how shockable and similar they are to each other. Within Black Boy, linguistic communication illustrates the racial bitterness that the white adult females experience towards Wright for the colour of his tegument. Language Acts of the Apostless as a device prehending Richard’s individualism and personal regard he obtains for himself.
Although Richard Wright’s relationship with force, household and linguistic communication teach him that he was no power as an person, Wright Rebels and utilizes these same facets in an attempt to seek some kind of control. Wright’s female parent is the first to offer him power through force. Wright recalls, “I was baffled. My female parent was stating me to contend, a thing that she had ne’er done before” ( 17 ) . After Wright battles off a group of male childs with a stick and delivers his mother’s food markets he says, “on my manner back I kept my stick poised for blink of an eye usage, but at that place was non a individual male child in sight. That dark I won the right to the streets of Memphis” ( 18 ) . Although force Acts of the Apostless as a method to learn him of his lower societal stance in society, he is able to derive personal power though this same force. After bearing those male childs, he is able to walk freely by himself in peace.
In add-on, Wright additions power within his household as he refuses to be whipped. After his Aunt Addie whips him in category for walnuts that another male child had left he says, “I was certain of one thing: I would non be beaten by her again” ( 107 ) . Many times throughout the fresh Richard’s household relatives endeavor to crush him, but he refuses and with that additions power over them and individualism because he will non allow them put a individual manus upon him. Wright recalls, “Aunt Addie took her defeat difficult [ … ] I was witting that she had descended to my ain emotional degree in her attempt to govern me, and my regard for her sank” ( 110 ) . After Aunt Addie tried to crush him for a mistake he did non commit and fails, he begins to experience that he is on the same degree of an grownup.
Furthermore, Wright is able to obtain power and individualism once more through linguistic communication. When Richard is younger he writes a transition about an Indian miss ; he says, “I had ne’er in my life done anything like it ; I had made something, no affair how bad it was ; and it was mine” ( 120 ) . Afterwards, Richard shows his written transition to his neighbour and “her inability to hold on what [ he ] had done or was seeking to somehow gratified [ him ] ” ( 121 ) . Bing able to compose gives Richard a strong sense of individualism since it is his creative activity. Writing the transition besides gives Wright a rush of authorization, as his neighbour can non penetrate why or how he did it.
Throughout Black Boy, Richard Wright is inhibited as a individual. He is expected to move as a subservient African American. He is insulted and degraded for simply possessing a different colour of tegument. Wright is restrained by society and learns this subjugation when he is violently beaten by white people every bit good as his household. Wright rapidly learns how white people view him as inferior when they insult his intelligence and stereotype him as a individual that will ne’er amount to anything. Richard Wright is invariably belittled as a individual, but he uses these same facets to derive back his power as an person. He fights a scope of people, from a pack of childs seeking to take his money to his ain household relations, in order to maintain his sense of power. He writes short narratives that conveying him happiness and assurance and regard. Black Boy offers the life narrative of Richard Wright’s conflict against force, household differences, and contemptuous linguistic communication to continue his individualism and freedom to be himself against all forces.