The Importance Of Curiosity In Richard Wright's Black Boy

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Curiosity is behind the spark of every great idea. Curiosity is very prevalent in Black Boy, written by Richard Wright, a powerful memoir detailing Richard’s childhood in the South: Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, and eventually Chicago during the Jim Crow Era. He was a black man growing up in a racist America. Curiosity is the reason for many of Richard’s empowering ideas in his young life. Richard’s curiosity leads him to desire education, question the roots of racism, and challenge authority.

Richard’s craving for education comes up because of his curiosity. There are a lot of students in RIchard’s neighbourhood and while peeking at some of their books, he learns to recognize some words and read a bit. Reading more and more, his curiosity grows. After Richard recites the numbers 1-100 to his mother that he’d learned from a coal man, “She was dumbfounded. After that she taught [him] to read, told [him] stories” (Wright 23). Richard is very excited about his newfound knowledge and
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Richard quickly grows up and is mature enough to ask questions about his race, which is clear when Wright says, “My grandmother, who was as white as any white person, had never looked white to me” (23). RIchard is starting to ask himself an important question: What does it mean to be white? He wonders why his grandmother is black instead of white, which commences his wonderings about what the roots of racism really are. RIchard begins to curiously ask more and more questions, showcasing his curiosity and need for answers, when he says, “Granny looks white..Then why is she living with us coloured folks...did granny become coloured when she married grandpa?” (Wright 47). Richard also asks many questions about his own race. He is very curious, and this curiosity puts the true roots of racism on the table. Richard’s questioning of these roots of racism due to his curiosity is showcased multiple times throughout the
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