Black Boy Critical Analysis

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Richard Wright’s autobiography Black Boy follows Wright from a young age as he overcomes the trials and tribulations of growing up as an African American in the Jim Crow South. Throughout the story, themes such as individuality and self-perspective play a vital role in Wright’s personal development. From the beginning of the story, Richard’s actions illuminate his stubborn and individualistic nature. Due to the racial tensions during this time, it was quite difficult for an African American with these characteristics to be accepted into society. Richard constantly demonstrates this desire to join society on his own terms, rather than bend to societal pressures and conform to other peoples’ expectations for him. Whether Richard is interacting…show more content…
First, Richard ignores Uncle Tom when he tells Richard, “you need a lesson in how to live with people” (159). Richard’s friend Griggs furthers this advice when he says to Richard “then for God’s sake, learn how to live in the south” (183). Both Uncle Tom and Griggs realize that as an African American in a white-dominant society, one must be aware of how the white community sees you. They both possess a double consciousness; how they view themselves is vastly different from how the white community views them. Richard is ignorant to this idea of a double consciousness and acts on his own volition without taking into account how the white community will perceive his…show more content…
Although he is able to develop a double consciousness that makes him aware of this issue, he is left void of a true place in society by the end of the story. Richard is never truly accepted by his family or other members of the black community. For a short moment, he finally feels a sense of acceptance and thinks he is found his place; however, this feeling is short lived. Although Wright is never able to find his true role, this does not disturb him. Rather than being a part of something and having his thoughts restricted, Wrights finds peace in living in isolation if it means he can think clearly for
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