A book of Prefaces
Richard Wright’s novel “Black boy” is a “Coming of age” novel recording the childhood of the narrator Richard Wright in 1945. He tells his story about being an African- American, from his early childhood to his being an adult at 29 years old.
Richard Wright tells his story in the first person occasionally thinking seriously about how the other people in the novel think or feel, leading to the reader to think that the narrator may be a real historical figure. Set in 1912-1937, primarily Jackson, Mississippi; West Helena, Richard Wright demonstrates the individualism, and intelligence he must hide because of his being a black man in the Jim Crow South.
Richard Wright struggles as a black boy for acceptance and humane treatment. He graduates public school and enters the workforce where he is beaten up and terrorized by local racist whites. Richard struggles stubbornly to get out and make something of himself outside of the Jim Crow South. Obsessed with writing and reading, he wants to become a writer after reading “H. L. Mencken’s “A book of Prefaces. ” I find the character dynamic as he demonstrates a kind of great role model for someone who is or was oppressed.
He admires Jean-Pierre Sartre, and becomes a existential philosopher believer, believing life is only meaningful when we struggle to make it so. [At the age of twelve, before I had had one full year of formal schooling, I had…a conviction that the meaning of living came only when one was struggling to wring a meaning out of meaningless suffering. At the age of twelve I had an attitude toward life that was to…. make me skeptical of everything while seeking everything; tolerant of all and yet critical and could only keep alive in me the enthralling sense of wonder and awe in the face of the drama
Order#31115029 Black Boy by Richard Wright Pg. 2 of human feeling which is hidden by the external drama of life;” end of chapter 3]. I admire the character of Richard when he leaves the South at nineteen for Chicago to find what he thinks is a much better, dignified life. In this the author exercise’s his ambition as well as his talent as a writer. I believe Richard Wright understood the importance of writing about his experiences we see this when he writes about the hardships of racism as a black youth in the South and when he records his experiences through his writing.
He enters the Communist Party and W. P. A. programs to find something more meaningful and comes into contact with his fellow serious writers to to write individual ideals about life he thinks are important as a living in a commune. He judges people from his experience and thinks the fundamental problems of social existence is a lack of “human unity,” not the need physical food or survival. I believe he wants his fellow African Americans to know their identity and come together as a powerful union to combat prejudice. [My life as a Negro In America had led me to feel….
that the problem of human unity was more important than bread, more important than physical living itself, for I felt that without a common bond uniting men…. There could be no living worthy of being called a human; beginning of Chapter 18]. Sadly Richard is thrown out from the Communist party after he has a new vision. I understand his thoughts about life is general and is an endless swirl of pain and suffering, believes the exciting experiences in life are the attempts to make order and form from chaos. It is what he thinks about his own writing, ideas, and art.
I believe he hoped to accomplish in writing “Black boy” more than a reorder of his own past to understand himself, but he was also trying to understand his readers as well. [I would make his life more intelligible to others than it was to himself. I would reclaim his disordered days and cast them into form that people could grasp, see, understand, and accept,” Chapt 19]. -Works Cited- Black Boy by Richard Wright (1945): Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia Fourth Edition Edited by Bruce Murphy; 1996. Sparknotes: Black boy: Themes, motifs, & symbols WWW. Sparknotes. com/lit/ blackboy/themes. html