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The individual versus society richard wright s black boy

Excerpt Richard Wright is the author, narrator, and protagonist of Black Boy. Growing up in an abusive family environment in the racially segregated and violent American South, Richard finds his salvation in reading, writing, and thinking. He grows up feeling insecure about his inability to meet anyone's expectations, particularly his family's wish that he accept religion. Even though he remains isolated from his environment and peers, at the autobiography's end Richard has come to accept himself.

The book literally throbs with the passionate expression of a young boy who lived through hell and agony, through trauma after trauma, who escaped into books and continually sought to know the meaning of his life. Davis identifies three themes in Black Boy. The first is survival, the second theme is the making of the artist and the third theme is didacticism characterized by social purposefulness 432. This belief frequently renders him willful, stubborn, and disrespectful of authority, putting him at odds with his family and with those who expect him to accept his degraded position in society.

Because almost everyone in Richard's life thinks this way, he finds himself constantly punished for his nonconformity with varying degrees of physical violence and emotional isolation.

  • When Richard acts out of line with the Communist Party, they denounce him and attempt to sabotage his career;
  • Though Richard wishes to remain an individual, he feels connected to the rest of humanity on a spiritual level;
  • Richard is fiercely individual and constantly expresses a desire to join society on his own terms rather than be forced into one of the categories that society wishes him to fill.

Richard Wright continually faces a world that relies on force, rather than sound judgment and truth. Richard is cursed, beaten, or slapped every time he stands up to Granny, Addie, or other elders, regardless of how justified he may be in doing so.

When whites believe Richard is behaving unacceptably in their presence, they also berate, slap, or manipulate him. When Richard acts out of line with the Communist Party, they denounce him and attempt to sabotage his career. Clearly, then, violence — which here means all the abuse, physical or mental, that Richard suffers—is a constant presence in Black Boy.

Violence looms as an almost inevitable consequence when Richard asserts himself, both in the family and in society. However, violence also takes over Richard's mind as well. Richard learns that he must demonstrate his violent power in order to gain respect and acceptance at school.

Additionally, he reacts to his family's violent, overbearing treatment with violence of his own, wielding a knife against Addie, burning down the house, and so on. Granny, Addie, Tom, Pease, Reynolds, Olin, Ed Green, Buddy Nealson are all characters who ascribe to inflexible attitudes and beliefs that do not accommodate differing opinions from independently minded people like Richard.

In the cases of Granny and Addie, strict religious faith drives them to attack Richard at every turn because he fails to act like a good Seventh-Day Adventist.

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Tom's belief that young people should unthinkingly obey their elders rouses him to fury whenever Richard takes a justified stand against him. Pease, Reynolds, and Olin believe that black people exist merely for the service and sport of white people, leading them to treat Richard with shocking inhumanity. Finally, Ed Green and Buddy Nealson, who maintain that Communists should quietly march in step with the Party, vilify Richard as soon as he seems to be marching to a different drummer.

In short, these characters all deny Richard's worth as an individual.

  1. Throughout the novel, said reasons fornovelizing this superb piece of work, is upheld by numerous citations ofmaturity related incidents obscured by the racial era. Richard Wright continually faces a world that relies on force, rather than sound judgment and truth.
  2. Richard Wright continually faces a world that relies on force, rather than sound judgment and truth.
  3. In those 25 years, Nathan had failed in the city, whereas Richard had succeeded in creating a new life. He defies them in Chicago, where the Communist Party asserts that he will either act as they tell him to act or be expelled.
  4. Yet he never understood the relations between the two races.

Both parts of the book turn on the confrontation between the young Richard Wright and a world that is often indifferent at best and murderously hostile at worst. Richard is fiercely individual and constantly expresses a desire to join society on his own terms rather than be forced into one of the categories that society wishes him to fill. In this regard, Richard struggles against a dominant white culture — both in the South and in the North — and even against his own black culture.

Neither white nor black culture knows how to handle a brilliant, strong-willed, self-respecting black man. Richard perceives that his options are either to conform or to wilt. Needless to say, neither option satisfies him, so he forges his own middle path. Richard defies these two unsatisfactory options in different ways throughout the novel.

  • Richard rebelled against his mother's injunction of silence by playing with fire and accidentally burning down Black Boy by Richard Wright- theme, and how it is revealed by setting, characterization and plot 510 words - 2 pages Black Boy is an autobiography of Richard Wright's life during a period of racism and inequality;
  • Clearly, then, violence — which here means all the abuse, physical or mental, that Richard suffers—is a constant presence in Black Boy;
  • Am I damning my native land?
  • The plot, setting, and Black Boy 642 words - 3 pages Black Boy, created by Richard Wright with his soul andwritten as his shadow, is a subtly actualized chronicle of an adolescent'scoming of age in the United States accompanying by a clear-cut denunciationof the Southern racial intolerance;
  • In Black Boy, Richard Wright characterizes his own multi-faceted hunger that drove his life in rebellion throughout the novel.

He defies them in Granny's home, where he lives without embracing its barren, mandatory spirituality. He defies these options at school, where the principal asserts that Richard must read an official speech or not graduate. He defies them in Chicago, where the Communist Party asserts that he will either act as they tell him to act or be expelled.

  1. Richard rebelled against his mother's injunction of silence by playing with fire and accidentally burning down Black Boy by Richard Wright- theme, and how it is revealed by setting, characterization and plot 510 words - 2 pages Black Boy is an autobiography of Richard Wright's life during a period of racism and inequality. In the cases of Granny and Addie, strict religious faith drives them to attack Richard at every turn because he fails to act like a good Seventh-Day Adventist.
  2. Rather, it is a function of problems deeply embedded in American culture that will take time to change.
  3. His greatest complaint is that his country is superficial and self-deceptive, qualities that result in intolerance and exclusion. Richard Wright continually faces a world that relies on force, rather than sound judgment and truth.
  4. Tom's belief that young people should unthinkingly obey their elders rouses him to fury whenever Richard takes a justified stand against him. However, violence also takes over Richard's mind as well.

Richard negates this final choice by leaving the Party of his own accord. As we see, Richard always rejects the call to conform. This rejection creates strife and difficulty, however — not because Richard thinks cynically about people and refuses to have anything more to do with them, but precisely because he does not take this approach.

Black Boy: The Theme Of Richard Wright's "Black Boy" Is Racism

Though Richard wishes to remain an individual, he feels connected to the rest of humanity on a spiritual level. Therefore, as an artist, he must struggle to show compassion for communities that say they do not want him.

Our too-young and too-new America [. Am I damning my native land? No; for I, too, share these faults of character Wright 272-3! This passage appears in the middle of Chapter 15, as Richard sketches some of the faults he finds in America.

His greatest complaint is that his country is superficial and self-deceptive, qualities that result in intolerance and exclusion. In his view, the problem of racism does not lie entirely in such private places as peoples' minds. Rather, it is a function of problems deeply embedded in American culture that will take time to change.