Racism in Black Boy was a huge issue in the south and in the north. Is racism still an issue now?
Black Boy, a really interesting book is a recommended book for others to read. Black Boy is a book that can be related to many people’s lives. At first reading this book, it wasn’t really looking forward to it because maybe it didn’t really give me an understanding of what the book was trying to emphasize. Reading forward on into the book, the book started to make me realize what it was really about.The book started to get a sense and feelings of emotions about how Richard Wright, the main character, the author of this book actually felt living at this time. Living in the time of all hatred among whites and blacks was really durable. Whites and blacks didn’t bother looking at each or even getting close to each other. All they wanted was the separation between these two racial behaviors.
When first started reading Black Boy, it had a sense of what life Richard was going through. Growing up as a little kid with all the racial behavior going on, he didn’t really understand the real meaning of life. Richard just wondered why all these stuff was going on with each and every day with his mom scolding him and telling him not to make any noise at all. Richard one day decides to burn down his house and tells his mom that “the house is on fire”. Why would any child would decide to burn down their own house. My thinking of Richard has changed throughout the book in what kind of decisions he makes. Richard believes in what he wants to believe in and he always finds himself being punished for his physical violence. He believes that people don’t accept who he is standing in society.
Richard believes in what he wants to believe in and he always finds himself being punished for his physical violence. He believes that people don’t accept who he is standing in society. Richard deals with many consequences in life and he just walks pass through it. He is willing to live with all the consequences that are occurring in his life. Wright is living the low status in his life, with the fact that he is black and poor. Throughout the book we see Richard begins to lie, steal, and deal with the sense of violence. He feels little connection with other people around in the society.
<Black Boy> by <Richard Wright> is a story about a boy name Richard who grows up in non-so perfect society where he is always being punished by his mom. Everything that he does, even though if he doesn’t, his mom would always yell at him for his violent behavior. Richard goes through many obstacles in his life, dealing with his own consequences which he faces. Richard is socially inactive with other people and tends to things his own way. Throughout the book Richard also faces racial issues and behavior that whites and blacks hate among each other. In this book Richard learns a lot about the life that he is living through, present and the past, living with two childhoods. An example of what I mean is on page <17>. <“I was lashed so hard and long that I lost consciousness. I was beaten out of my senses and later I found myself in bed, screaming, determined to run away, tussling with my mother and father who were trying to keep me still. I lost in a fog of fear."> This is <important> because Richard is going through the life of misery. He is only a child as of now in the book, and he doesn’t know what kind of world he is living in. He just wants to run away from home, maybe live his own life instead of dealing with all the punishment he is going through.
The <characters> in <Black Boy> reminds me of other books. In <Holes>, the main character Stanley Yelnats, is a boy who wanted to be like others. He wanted the new shoes that came out and didn’t have enough money for it, so he stole it. Unfortunately he was sent to camp, when he got caught. In this camp, life was full with misery for him; he didn’t really understand what the camp was going to be. He thought that it was suppose to be a boot camp for training and stuff, but it was camp for digging holes under the burning heat. For days, he dug holes with least amount of food and water. He just wanted to run away, but there was no way to run. If he ran away, he wouldn’t be able to survive with no food or no water. Another book <Number the Stars>, the main character goes through a similar life of what Richard is going through. The girl in “Number the Stars” goes through the Nazi period time where the Jews were being killed by the Germans and her and her family tries to escape for it like how Richard is trying to escape from his life, from all this racism issue that is occurring. Both of these characters just want to run away from life, instead of trying to deal with these consequences.
This book is particularly preoccupied with the relationship between <racism, the relationship that Richard has with his mom and dad, and the big issue about living in the south and living in the north.> There are very <important and exciting> issues in our society right now because racism, as you know it is still going on today. Even though people may not realize it, people make fun of other races and criticize them in what they do. There are also many superstitions about other races. People need to understand that each race is unique in their own way because there are many people coming here all around the world to share there own cultures and ideas. Also about the relationship that Richard has with his parents, people in this world have either bad relationship with their parents, or good. There are many things that parents can annoy you with, but it only shows that they care about you.
To show that these issues are important in <Black Boy> let’s take a look closely first a selection from the beginning of the book. The book is trying to show you what kind of life Richard is going through and what the real world really is. It wants to draw the attention of readers to help you understand that Richard is a boy who wants to escape from his life, due to all the consequences and punishment, so one thing he does is burn down his house. Also in the book he takes his dad’s words literally and kills the poor innocent kitten. Richard just wanted to let his dad know that anything his dad said, he was going to take it in word for word.
On page <22> there is one of these passages where Richard takes his dad’s words literally when he knew that his dad didn’t really meant what he said about killing the kitten. “<My brother ran away in fright. I found a piece of rope, made a noose, slipped it about the kitten’s neck, pulled it over a nail, then jerked the animal clear of the ground. It gasped, slobbered, spun, doubled, clawed the air frantically; finally its moth gaped and its pink white tongue shot out stiffly. I tied the rope to a nail and went to find my brother. He was crouching behind a corner of the building.>” What <Wright> gives us here is <that Richard took his dad’s words literally when his dad didn’t really mean it. Even his brother told him that his dad’s words weren’t meant for him to do it, but Richard still did it anyways. Richard hated his dad so he did what he did and he wanted his dad to know that he was taking his words into consideration if that was what he wanted to happen. So one thing this means to the reader is that Richard is a person, when he hates someone, he will listen to their words and take them literally as possible. What Richard did was wrong, by killing a poor innocent kitten just because he hated his dad. He could have solved problems a different way. The literary device used here is <metaphor because of how Richard took his dad’s words literally. Metaphor is comparing something without using like or as. It is most closely related to a metaphor because words come out of my mouths and Richard took his dad’s words literally like his dad really meant it. This is used as a literary device due to the fact that Richard did not have to take his dad’s words literally as he really did.
Why are families a big factor in your life during your childhood and as you continue to grow up? Why is racism a big issue in the society? Families are really important in your life and we all need to understand that our families have a huge impact on our lives, even if it is a negative or positive one. We need to understand that our families want the best out of us, and we all should learn from our mistakes. As due to family, racial issues are really important as well. Racism throughout this book happens between whites and blacks having hatred towards each other. To begin to answer this, let’s turn to <Chapter # 1> in the book, specifically on page <24>
In this scene Richard’s mother is talking to him about the issue that he took his dad’s words literally and how he killed the poor innocent kitten. Richard’s mother is giving him a lecture about the kitten that he killed and how he was going to regret what he did. Take a look at this passage on page <24>
“I had my first triumph over my father. I had made him believe that I had taken his words literally. He could not punish me now without risking his authority. I was happy because I had at last found a way to throw my criticism of him into his face. I had made him feel that, if he whipped me for killing the kitten, I would never give serious weight to his words again. I had made him know that I felt he was cruel and I had done it without his punishing me.”
Next take a look at what happens on page <191> where Richard says, “I was always to be conscious of it, brood over it, carry it in my heart, live with it, sleep with it, fight with it.” Then we move into something called a <metaphor>. The author uses this device in the part of the book to show that Richard is taking words like he lives with it, sleep with it, fight with it, and how he carries the words throughout his heart. The author does not use the word like or ask, or else it would be a simile. It is trying to show that the words that Richard takes in, he will take it into consideration, and thinking about it over and over again, in the fact that of what he has learned throughout his life.
“Two middle-aged men came in and sat down. I never learned who was in the family. They cursed each other in an amazingly offhand manner and nobody seemed to mind. As they hurled invectives, they barely looked at each other. I was tense each moment, trying to anticipate their wishes and avoid a curse, and I did not suspect that the tension I had begun to feel that morning would lift itself into the passion of my life. Perhaps I had waited too long to start working for white people; perhaps I should have begun earlier, when I was younger as most of the other black boys had done and perhaps by now the tension would become an habitual condition, contained and controlled by reflex. But that was not to be my lot; I was always to be conscious of it, brood over it, carry it in my heart, live with it, sleep with it, fight with it. “
This is important. It’s worth re-reading this and thinking about the exact language: for instance, Richard is learning about the passion of life of how these two men’s have tensions with each other and they don’t even barely glance at each other. These two men’s were also cursing at each other and Richard took their tensions as a habitual condition which he kept in his heart and always live with it, but also fight it as well. Growing up, as he is older, he learned that he should have interacted with white people when he was younger, but now it was too late. Whites now don’t associate with blacks and blacks don’t associate with whites. They hate each other. As you can see Richard, learns the importance about the tensions going on between the blacks and the whites. Words said by these two men to each other, had a big consideration on Richard’s mind and he took it into his life and seems to learn the difference between these two races and what is really going on. Lets take a look at both of these scenes, and why that have to say about my question: Why are families a big factor in your life during you childhood and as you continue to grow up?; Why is racism a big issue in society? These scenes are similar to each other because Richard learns how words can be really important and how words can get a real good sense in your mind. What people say, you can learn from your mistakes. The words that his mother told him about the kitten and how he couldn’t bring back a life, he felt really guilty and he felt a sense of fear in his life knowing that, he took his dad’s words literally. By doing that, his dad wouldn’t punish him or beat him in case next time his dad tells him to do something, but the mom takes it a different way. She wanted Richard to learn that what he did was wrong. By taking these words that he have heard from his mother and these two men, he is taking it into his passion of life, dealing with the many consequences that he has to go through. The author wants the reader to understand that there are many different ways that someone can learn through their lives by the words that they hear and what other people tend to say around them in the society. Words and actions in the society and change the person that you are. Words can be taken from your childhood as you grow up into your adulthood. This is why people in life will encounter two lives, to learn from their mistakes. Learning from your mistakes, bring you one step closer to understand the true, real meaning of life. This is a scene of <consideration> that arises from these first two little vignettes. To understand more about the words that people say in society, or even the words that your families tell you, it is for your own good. They just want to see the best out of you and make sure that you don’t make the same mistake again. Sometimes people don’t take the words or advice that people give them into consideration and then they regret later on in life about the mistakes that they did. People who makes mistakes and don’t listen to advice usually tends to regret in the end and go back to think why didn’t I listen before? When first reading these scenes I didn’t really understand what they were trying to say. I thought that the mom was just telling Richard to never do it again and stuff like that and what he did was wrong, but it was totally different, his mother wanted him to feel the fear inside him for what he did. He took away a life, a life that no one can bring back even if he apologize for it. He shouldn’t have done the stuff that he did, like hang the cat in the first place. He shouldn’t have took his dad’s words so literally. Listening to your parents is a good thing, not always, but most of the time. They only want the best for you, even though if they punish you, it is only because they care. If they didn’t care they would not do anything about it. People always tend to learn from their mistakes and try not to do it again the second time, the same situation comes around. The sense of <listening to your families and taking words into consideration,> suggested already by these two scenes where Richard’s mom tell him stuff that leaves him fear inside his body for him killing the poor innocent cat. The cat will not come back to life again for what Richard has done, and his mom makes sure that Richard is scared about it and tells him to bury it. He had a fear that the kitten was going to come alive and claw his eye out or something. Also about the two men who were cursing at each other and had a tension among each other. Richard learned that if he associated with white people in his childhood, life would be a lot easier than trying to communicate with them now, due to the racism and hate they have among each other. We see this theme again on page <283>. White and Blacks do not really get along with each other especially Richard with other whites. Richard has been laid off a job by a white person and tends to find a new job running his errands by washing eyeglasses. Richard had finally felt his relationship with the white people and how their were tensions going on. He felt that he could either take it or discover ways of handling it. By doing this he might cause more tensions to occur and he might have to live another fear in his life. There are many consequences that Richard already faces in his life and he just deals with it, no matter what the problem is. This relates to the two scenes because it can show the relationship that he has with his mom and the white people. The relationships are different of course since Richard is being punished by his mother, but it also somehow relates to each other in a way that the whites are punishing the blacks by laying Richard off of his job. Knowing that tensions are going on, Richard is thinking about if he should discover a way to solve this problem, but he is also considering about what is going happening. He is learning from the fact in his passion of life, the consequences he is going through and the words of fear that his mother put upon him. Richard first understands the tensions between the whites and the blacks. In this book through he learns that doing things differently may also help you and the other person. Violence isn’t always a way to solve stuff, there are other ways of solving problems as well. He accomplishes this by discovering of doing something else, like getting a new job. He told Mrs. Moss that he was going to get a new job, since something happened with him and Bess at his old job. Mrs. Moss asks him what happened, but he just insisted to lie in shame. In this case, Richard is going to get a new job and he learned about the racial issues (tensions) between the whites, but he never felt a devastating fear of the whites like the Ku Klux Klan or anything like that. In the shop it was sort of easy to communicate with the whites. Even though he felt hatred and a bad sense of attitude among them, they never yelled or abused anything to Richard. This is the first instance in which Richard will do the right things and face the consequences going on in his life. Even at the toughest moments, he will just deal with it and not try to solve it. Learning from your mistakes and taking words into consideration is a thing in life people must understand. It will lead you to the passion of life in which mistakes would be learned and to live with a sense of fear changes every perspective of the ways you look at things. He says: “There were about a dozen white men in the sixth floor shop where I spend most of my time; they varied from the Ku Klux Klanners to Jews, from theosophists to just plan poor whites. Although I couldn’t detect disdain and hatred in their attitudes, they never shouted at me or abused me. It was fairly easy to contemplate the race issue in the shop without reaching those heights of fear that devastated me. A measure of objectivity entered into my observations of white men and women." Either I could stand more mental strain that formerly or I had discovered deep within me ways of handling it.” Also take a look at page <306>. The white man yells:
“We squared off and at once I knew that I had not thought sufficiently about what I had bargained for. I could not pretend to fight. Neither Harrison nor I knew enough about boxing to deceive even a child for a moment. Now shame filled me. The white men were smoking and yelling obscenities at us.”
“Crush that nigger’s nuts, nigger!”
“Hit that nigger!”
“Aw, fight, you goddamn niggers!”
“Sock ‘im in his f-k-g piece!”
“Make ‘im bleed!”
Richard and Harrison were in deep trouble. The white man wanted them to fight, but they didn’t really anything about boxing and shame filled up inside Richard. He didn’t really know what to do and the white man was just cursing them both out and really wanted them to fight. They were calling Richard and Harrison niggers, which is a word that is being abused in this book and even throughout the world. Richard couldn’t pretend to fight; he really didn’t want to fight either. He knew that he was going to get hurt. Racism has been a big issue and the white man just wanted to see them both hurt. Why do these two races hate each other so much? Due to their color of the skin, that shouldn’t matter, it should matter about the person that they are inside. Richard knew that if he was to do something, he would have faced many consequences and end up getting hurt. Unfortunately Harrison and Richard ended up fighting. The harder Richard fought, the harder Harrison did too. Richard felt really ashamed in what he did. They fought four hard rounds and they both collapsed from exhaustion. Richard couldn’t look at Harrison. He hated him and also hated himself. What Richard did made Richard feel bad. He had to fight Harrison and he made Harrison bleed with the first punch to the mouth. Situations can be solved in different ways, not due to violence, but peaceful ways in talking the situation out or escaping away from it.
There are other important themes in this book as well. In one way or another they all have to do with <the words that people hear and the racism that is going on between others>. Yes this book is about the learning of the racial issue between the blacks and the whites and how they communicate with each other. The words that are said in the society to lead people in something that they really don’t want to do, but it is very much, very consciously, a book about how Richard grows up into his adulthood from his childhood and how he learned to deal with his consequences. To listen to the words that are given at you may either be positive or negative. So in these early scenes it’s all about <consideration>. But it’s actually not even quite so easy or as simple as these early scenes that I’ve just discussed might make out.
Richard and Harrison fight each other due to the encouragement of a white man yelling at them to go at each other. Richard now feels shame for what he has done and how he needed to fight Harrison in four tough rounds. Why did they have to fight four rounds? What was the real point of them fighting? All they did was just hurt each other. Was it to their satisfaction? The fight didn’t really have to go on; they could have prevented it from happening. Now Richard has a hate on himself. He realized what he has done wrong.
So think about the scene on page <367> where how Richard goes from house to house collecting money and how he saw black men bellowing about different rights and revolution. He doubts their wisdom and he saw that the Negroes were angry about something. They wanted to join the white fellow workers and cause a revolution. He thought that they were lost, ignorant, and sick in mind and body. He really didn’t know what they were being lead to. It is important because Richard saw how different Negroes react and why they want to join with the white workers to cause a revolution. Even though he was in a fight with Harrison due to a white man yelling fight fight nigger, it didn’t affect Richard that the white man called him that. Even though this kind of issue occurs blacks still try to work with white fellow workers. This scene reveals that Richard is trying to get a real sense of why the Negroes were angry and why they want to work with the fellow white workers to cause a revolution. Although racism is a controversial topic, at the time in the novel, the Negroes still want to work with the white fellow workers. Richard doesn’t really understand why and wondered if they were lost and sick in their minds for thinking about what they were thinking about doing. Why did the Negroes wanted to cause a revolution with the white fellow workers? Really, what was going on? It isn’t always easy to trust a person that you really don’t know of. How and why did the Negroes wanted to join the white fellow workers to cause a revolution. How would the Negroes know if they white fellow workers wouldn’t betray them. What if the white fellow workers went behind the Negroes back and did something to them? Then what would happen? It would create a huge conflict between these two races. We always, as people have to think before we make our decisions.
This theme comes back in the scene on page <383> where how Richard realizes how much work he had to do as a slave. If though he wet the steps the doctor’s would come by and dirty them again knowing that it was already cleaned. In this case Richard had to clean the steps again, but the white people would still plopped their feet down into the dirty water and mud the other steps as well. No white person showed a single courtesy to the steps that he was cleaning up. He would pause and curse with tense lips. All the hard work that Richard does by cleaning up the steps, it would just always get messed up. The whites did not show any respect to Richard, just because the color of his skin. Can’t the whites just show the blacks any respect? We know that that blacks and the whites hate each other, but Richard worked hard. What if a white person was to clean up and a black person came and dirtied it up, how would they feel? They would feel the same way. It is trying to show us that the blacks are being mistreated by the whites and that the whites don’t really care what they are doing.
There is another way to answer my question: Why are families important in your life and why racism is such a big issue in the society. Racism will always continue on in society and it will never be stopped. People will just hate each other for the color of their skin. Families can always help me overcome certain circumstances and get you through life. Take a look at page <459> where we get an account that Richard has been through so much racism that he was really surprised that he saw white men married with black women’s. His eyes were concrete proof that slavery was to be abolished. He couldn’t believe what was occurring in his eyes. It uses personification because it is saying that slavery is finally over due to what Richard is seeing in his eyes. He is seeing that whites are married with blacks, so he gets a sense that slavery is finally abolished.
“I was for these people. Being a Negro, I could not help it. They did not hate Negroes. They had no racial prejudices. Many of the white men in the hall were married to Negro women and many of the Negro men were married to white women. Jews, Germans, Russians, Spaniards, all races and nationalities were represented without any distinctions whatever.”
“Racial hate had been the bane of my life, and here before my eyes was concrete proof that I could be abolished. Yet a new hate had come to take the Communists should hate what they called “intellectuals”, or anybody who tried to think for himself. I had fled men who did not like the color of my skin, and now I was among men who did not like the tone of my thoughts”.
What we see here is Richard couldn’t help himself being a Negro. If he was a Negro, he would live as a Negro for the rest of his life. He couldn’t change his skin color. There was no racial prejudice at all now. He saw many white men married with many different nationalities. All the nationalities were to be represented. Maybe racism was to come to an end, maybe not. We will never know what is really going on, until every race comes together and create peace. There will always be people who hate others for no reason at all.
What we can see from all of this is that Richard Wright wants <his/her> reader to think that families are a huge factor in your life and sometimes we need to take their words into consideration so we don’t get ourselves in trouble. We also need to see that racism is a big issue throughout the book no matter what is going on. Whites did not show respect at all to Richard, but Richard still managed to deal with the consequences. He didn’t do anything about it; he didn’t want to start any trouble. We need to learn that getting ourselves into troubles will make you look back into the past when you are in the future and realize what you have done wrong. Mistakes in life are what we need to learn from, not to make the same mistakes again like we did.
We learn a lot from this book. We learn how childhood life can affect us as we grow up older. We take the words that we heard from our childhood and bring it with us to get a real understanding of what the words mean and what we need to learn from it. Families are important and they will always be
with you until they are gone. They want the best for you and the language that occurs in the society changes one’s life. As Richard interacts with other characters he realizes the importance of life, as well as the issue of racism. Racism, he learned that it was a bad prospective that he had to deal with. With him cleaning up the steps, the white men just kept on dirtying them. We need to learn that when one person gets in your way or does something that is not meaningful to you that you hate, we cannot always go up against them; sometimes we just have to ignore the issue.
My point in sum, what I want you to take away from this is learning from your mistakes. Don’t make the same mistakes in life twice in a row. We all learn from our childhood and tend to change as we grow up. That is why people in life live two different childhoods. One childhood is the childhood we don’t really understand as a little kid until we grow up as an adult and learn what the real meaning of life really is. Richard in the book took words and took it into his passion of life learning that words can affect others in many different ways.