Hunger In Richard Wright's Hunger

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In his early life, hunger is a constant companion for Richard Wright. After his father left, Wright suffers from severe malnutrition and becomes thin. However, through his literal hunger, Wright implies a metaphorical hunger for family and support. Later on, Wright’s hunger changes into a desire for knowledge. Wright constantly talks about how hungry he is when he lives with only his mother. But when he moves in with Aunt Maggie, away from his grandmother, Wright notices that “Aunt Maggie’s table was so loaded with food that [he] could scarcely believe it was real” (Wright 50). Back at his grandmother’s house, Granny and Grandpa scold him and whip him. But now, he lives with his aunt and uncle who are kinder and more supportive. Wright symbolizes this difference by describing the table, which is filled to…show more content…
Even though Wright has the opportunity to get a loving family and fulfill his hunger, he is reluctant because Bess, and others around him, could not “attach to words the same meanings [he] did” (Wright 218). Many of the people around Wright won’t think deeply. If Wright marries Bess, he will not be able to pursue knowledge and greater meanings, trapped forever in an unfulfilling life. If Wright truly hungers for family, he would’ve accepted Bess’ feelings. What does Wright desire then? Once he has a library card and access to all kinds of books, Wright acknowledges his true hunger: “But a vague hunger would come over me for books, books that opened up a new avenue of feeling and seeing, and again I would forge another note to the white librarian” (Wright 252). Although Wright has money, food, and a job, he still has a “hunger” for something else. A hunger only books and knowledge can satisfy. To compensate for the anti-book policy of his previous households, Wright feasts on this opportunity to learn. Now, the knowledge that is missing from his life is
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