Richard Wright's Autobiography, Black Boy

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A reader can come to understand something they have never experienced through merely reading on the subject. In the autobiography Black Boy, the protagonist Richard Wright gains most of his knowledge of life through reading books. Like Richard, students can learn about things they may never experience by reading books. The world of literature, both fiction and nonfiction, can provide life lessons and experiences to the reader and as such are good learning material. Richard Wright lives in a society where he is discouraged from trying to gain knowledge. Whether it is his grandmother’s disapproval of his want to read fiction books or his mother dodging his questions about his race, Richard is constantly faced with obstacles that prevent him…show more content…
Richard, being a rambunctious and disadvantaged black boy living in a time when America was still firmly planted under the thumb of prejudice, struggles to relate to the wide array of people around him. From his childhood bullies, white and successful bosses, and his racist coworkers, Richard lives in a world where he is always an odd man out, an outlier and exception to almost every privilege. He himself says “…I knew that Negroes had never been allowed to catch the full spirit of Western civilization, that they lived somehow in it but not of it. And when I brooded upon the cultural barrenness of black life, I wondered if clean, positive tenderness, love, honor, loyalty, and the capacity to remember were native with man. I asked myself if these human qualities were not fostered, won, struggled and suffered for, preserved in ritual from one generation to another…” (Richard Wright, Black Boy, pg. ).
It is no common fact that the times we live in are more forward thinking and accepting of differences. However, ignorance about the differences between people can lead to severed friendships or biased hatred. No one can truly know what anyone thinks or feels, but by reading books about the things they do not understand, people can educate themselves. Through the text of a book, a person can walk in other’s shoes and maybe get a glimpse of the things that shape them into the people they are. Richard proves
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