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World Peace Essay, Research Paper

Unforgettable Moments Of Slavery

Black Boy, a novel by Richard Wright, is a heart-wrenching story about the harsh reality of racism, prejudice, and hostility that are revealed through the struggles of one young black boy. The young black boy is desperately trying to understand the cruel and negative world he is living in. This young black boy is on a mission to be educated and be successful. Richard Wright is determined to succeed in life.

Richard’s success is based on his determination and drive to overcome obstacles that he would face on a day to day basis in all aspects of his life. Richard was growing up in a time period that was both discouraging and hostile to blacks attempting to obtain an education and become successful. Through all of his hardships and obstacles, Richard continued to have a positive outlook on life. A positive outlook kept Richard focused on his dream to leave the south and eventually be free from all racial and prejudice matters.

During the early twentieth century, racial issues, along with very strong prejudice feelings ran throughout the south. The Jim Crow laws separated the blacks from the whites and led the blacks to believe they were not important. Seating arrangements on busses, drinking from different water fountains, and even the arrogance of not being allowed to eat at counters in public restaurants were examples of some of these laws. Therefore, very little emphasis was placed on the education and success of a young black boy. In order for Wright to be successful, he had to pursue an education and overlook the strong prejudiced feelings he was faced with. These were hard times for blacks, but he worked hard to overcome his obstacles and reach for what he believed in. He did this during a time when there was no desire to see a colored person overcome the chances and be successful.

Richard Wright’s determination to succeed, and to overcome the social forces fighting against him was facet of southern culture that was familiar to all who lived, or even passed through the South during this time. The races showed no initiative of coming into contact with one another. However, there was a fear among them. Although he had fear, his curiosity about the races was not eliminated. For example, Richard once ventured into a white neighborhood attempting to sell his dog for money to buy food. On that day, he saw a glimpse of a world he had never seen before. Wright saw things such as

I tucked her under my arm and went for the first time alone into a white neighborhood where there were wide clean streets and big white houses.

Finally a young white woman came to the door and smiled.

I waited on the porch, marveling at the cleanliness, the quietness of the white world. (69)

Richard now understood that whites lived so much better and he wondered why he and his brother had spent so many days doubled over in pain from the hunger they had come to know so well.

Wright uses prejudice and racism throughout his autobiography to encounter some of the most ludicrous moments that he had to experience while growing up in the South. For example, when Wright responded to the question on what he wanted to do in life, the lady turned to him and told him he was wasting his time trying to become a writer, knowing he was a Negro as stated in this quote:

Then why are you going to school? She asked in surprise.

Well, I want to be a writer, I mumbled, unsure of myself; I

Had not planned to tell her that, but she had made me feel so

Utterly wrong and of no account that I needed to bolster myself.

A what? She demanded.

A writer, I mumbled.

For what?

To write stories, I mumbled defensively.

You ll never be a writer, she said. Who on earth put such

Ideas into your head nigger head?

Nobody, I said

I didn t think anybody ever would, she declared indignantly (Wright 147).

It was unheard of being someone of importance and being black at the same time. Another good example of the prejudiced lifestyle of Wright was when he accepted his first job as a porter for a in a clothing store. Wright was forced into washing floors and was not allowed to come into contact with people who entered the store.

In Richard’s early life, many social roadblocks threatened to make it more difficult for him to hold on to his dream. Race and prejudice created challenges, but the true challenge came in an entirely different form. The true challenge was to become an accepted black man in a white mans society. Richard Wright became successful in a country that did not encourage him or to create opportunities for blacks. He succeeded in spite of personal hardships, racial adversity, constant hunger, and the lack of educations. Richard Wright fought the battle and came out victorious. Wright became a man who was not defined by his color, but by his talent. His talent was recognized because his strength and determination led him to succeed.


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