Trials of a black boy
How is Richard Wright’s book Black Boy relevant to society and the minorities that exist in them today?
Black Boy is a book that talks about the hardships that the main character, Richard had to experience. It was based on the life of the author, with some fictional parts. The author talked about the relationships between blacks and whites, he also talks about how blacks have become complacent in the situations that they are in. Wright focuses on the power of language and how it can be used to change the world. This book gives an insight into the past as seen in a first person view. Seeing the past through this book allows one to get a different angle on history, and it allows you to feel it as opposed to just reading it in the style of information placed in front of you.
Black Boy although written in a different generation, still has very high relevance and applies very much to the society of today. Black Boy which was originally published in 1945, was created in a different generation. Interactions between races were different, but blacks still felt that they were stuck in the situation that was placed on them . Richard Wright always viewed life with a very different perspective then the blacks around him. Many of the Blacks thought that the best way to empower themselves was to do things that the whites did not know about. They felt that doing things like stealing would make them feel accomplished and would empower them. While many of them thought about their short term goals and how they would make it through the next day, rarely did they think of how they would improve life for themselves. Richard on the other hand always viewed life looking at the situations placed in front of him as something that was to be changed.
Reading Black Boy at first wasn’t enjoyable, but as it got further in, it became more appealing. In the beginning, Richard was playing with fire and eventually it got out of control. The fire caught on to curtains and eventually the flames engulfed his whole house. After the house caught on fire, Richard decided to hide from his parents under the porch of his house. After searching for Richard without being able to locate him, his parents eventually decided to look under the porch, where he was hiding. After he was found his mother beat him unconscious and subsequently fell ill. This part of the book seemed to set up the fact that he didn’t like his dad and something would eventually happen to change their relationship. While reading this part the connection was not clear with the relevance of this memory to the actual story.
Black Boy by Richard Wright is a book about how Richard’s experiences allowed him to advance in life where most black people would not have. An example of this is on the bottom of page 161 through 162. “An hour later i was sitting in a Jim Crow coach, speeding northward,making the fist lap of my journey to a land where i could live with a little less fear. Slowly the burden I had carried for many months lifted somewhat. My cheeks itched and when I scratched them I found tears. This part in the story i found to be very strong, because while he knew he needed the money he got from stealing, he didn’t want to do it. He used his situation to be able to get a new life.
The character in Black Boy reminds me of a book called Ender’s Game. in the book ender’s game he was often put into situations where he had to overcome many situations with decisions he wasn’t exactlt too happy about making. For example one situation where Ender had to make a decision was when he was surrounded by bullies and the only was to escape was to catch the biggest one off guard and injure him in such a way that the others would run scared. What he decided to do was to kick the biggest one in the throat smashing his windpipe, when he was later told about what his actions cuased he cried, because he didn’t have any options besides that. this to me is similar because both richard and Ender had to make decisions that they didn’t agree with in order to better their lives. Another book that reminds me of a similar situation is Of Mice and Men. in one scene in the book George had to shoot Lennie because he was a danger to not only himself but also other people. All these books are similar because they talk about decisions that alter the characters lives, that they didn’t necessarily want to make.
These books are particularly occupied with the relationship of traumatic experiences and their effect on how people change. Specific experiences like this will forever be remembered by the characters and have some effect on future decisions that they make. For example George will most likely continue to get that ranch he promised lennie and will appreciate companionship much more. Ender would go on to value lives much more and would think about what could be the outcome of every decision that he makes, and Richard never stole again.
To show that these issues are important in Black Boy let’s take a look closely first at a selection from the middle of the book. Richard is a working with some other black kids his age, and they steal this is something that he decides is wrong and never does it, because of Richards morals he chooses to do something opposite of what other black people consider empowering. these kids think it allows them to take a little something of what the white men have, Richard realizes that there is only one way too get what you want, and that is hard work
On page 238 there is one of these passages where he talks about ehat he does at work "i swept, mopped, dusted and soon had the office clean. In the afternoons i ran errands." What Wright gives us here is a description of work for him, So one thing this means to the reader is that he values hard work. The literary device used here is imagery, imagery is when you describe something in a way that one can visualize what is happening. this shows imagery because it allows you to think of how his job would be done
Black Boy although written in a different generation, it still has very high relevance and applies very much to the society of today.
In this scene Richard talks about how he tries to put money to the side in order to leave the area he is in now. Take a look at this passage on page 252:
Out of my salary I had begun to save a few dollars, for my determination to leave had not lessened. But I found the saving exasperatingly slow. I pondered continuously ways of making money and the only ways that i could think of involved transgressions of the law. No i must not do that, I told myself. To go to jail in the south would mean the end. And there was a possibility that if i ever got caught i would never reach jail
Why is this scene important? In this scene he talks about the necessity of needing money and what were the cons of getting it in an illegal way.I think this sentence is very important because it tells you about his feelings of stealing. I think this is important because minorities in this generation just steal without reason or without thoughts of trouble
Next, take a look at what happens on page page 183, where richard says, "This was the first time that i had ever consciously entertained the idea of violating the laws of the land. I had felt that my intelligence and industry could cope with all situations " In this sentence Richard gives us insight into his mind in this specific part of his thoughts.
No Negroes in my environment had ever thought of organizing, no matter in how orderly a fashion, to petition their white employers for higher wages.
This is important. It's worth re-reading this and thinking about the exact language: for instance, I think this is very important because it gives language of what blacks weren’t doing what they should have. It says in this excerpt that none of the blacks near him ever considered rallying to require better wages from their employers. I chose this because just like back then today many blacks should be getting better treatment, but instead they sit there in their own pity waiting for something to change
Let’s take a look at both of these scenes, and why they have to say about my question: Black Boy although written in a different generation, it still has very high relevance and applies very much to the society of today. these scenes show similar ideas about how blacks are in their situations. in scene one richard saves his money planning for the future, in scene two, the blacks deal with what they have and try to make their situation better by stealing
There is a sense of inferiority that arises from these first two little vignettes. in both these cases blacks are looking at how whites are deamed by society as superior. At first i saw these scenes as two different events with no relation, but after closer analysis you can tell they describe similar ideas
The sense of Inferiority of blacks, suggested already by these two scenes where richard is saving money for the bus he will take to memphis on pages 161-162and 183. This theme again on page. In this scene Richard first gets off the bus and is walking down the street, he sees an apartment with a sign that says room for rent, he continues to walk after seeing someone who gives him the idea that it is a whore house.
Richard’s first time really living with people he is happy with is at this place It's as if he didn’t believe that it could happen, throughout this book he has been running from family members and others he encounters. This is the first instance in which richard meets people who aren’t like his family or have some alternative motive He says:
I lay on the bed and reveled in the delightful sensation of living out a long-sought dream.
There are other important themes in this book as well. In one way or another they all have to do with companionship. Yes, this is a book about blacks looking out for each other in an attempt to make each other have easier lives, but it is very much, very consciously, a book about the inferiority of blacks, even though they each look out for each other, they are still too low down tor whites really interact with each other. So in these early scenes it's all about . But it's actually not even quite so easy or so simple as these early scenes that I've just discussed might make out.
Racism causes many problems in societies, this can be seen in many examples of life for Richard and many other blacks.
So think about the scene on page 230 where Richard's bicycle broke a white man stopped the car and offered to let him hold on the back while he stood on a running board. So as Richard is hanging on to the back and talking to them, an empty bottle of whiskey hits him in the face and he falls from the back of the car. The men get out of the car and say to him, “hasn’t anyone taught you to address white folks with sir?” This is very important to the theme of racism because the whites feel they are superior to blacks and if blacks don’t respect them a certain way. then they have the right to do what ever they please to them. This scene helps to push along the idea of how it was for blacks in the south during this time period
This theme comes back in the scene on page 238 where in this scene Richard has been working for about a month at this shop. Richard walked up to Reynolds, a fellow worker and asked if he could tell him about the work, Reynolds replied with “what aer you trying to do boy, get smart?”. This scene stayed vividly in my head because he asked a simple question about what Reynolds was doing. To me it would seem like it should have been a simple answer but Reynolds flipped out because he was black.
There is this sense of injustice that is felt by the blacks of this era, that needs to be understood by today’s youth
There is another way to answer my question: How is Richard Wright’s book black boy relevant to society and the minorities that exist in them today? Minoroties Try to accomplish life’s difficulties by themselves. Take a look at page 253, where we get an account of what i mean. Richard Wright stated here that “No Negroes in my environment had ever thought of organizing, no matter in how orderly a fashion.” This really stood out to me because looking at society today most minorities live in situations that should be improved, but because they have settled in what they are familiar with, things are left the way they are, if they would band together many things in this world could be changed
On page 306-307 we see the fight that took place between Richard and Harrison that was set up between their bosses. Originally they believed that they could trick their bosses into believing they were seriously fighting while they weren’t.
What we see here is blacks trying to get one up on whites above them and them coming to the realization that no matter what they try, they will be placed in the same situation. This relates to the topic because Richard disregarded what he had already established them to be, because he felt that this boss would have been different, if he would have asked other blacks about his boss maybehe wouldn’t have had to be placed in the situation he was in.
What we can see from all of this is that Richard Wright want’s his reader to think that although one may go through traumatic experiences things can be worked out through companionship. and also one person shouldn’t ty to do things all by themselves.
the main thing to take away from this book is that your experiences are what make up yuor life and how you respond to those experiences is what makes you who you are. Another thing to take away was minorities should understand what was faced in the past and this book serves as a medium for that
My point in sum, what I want you to take away from this, one should understand that every decision made has a direct affect on your life and every decision you make determines how you will become