The Power Of Language In Richard Wright's Black Boy

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After reading the book Black Boy one quickly realizes that the power of language is a prominent theme throughout the book. Language is a tool that holds a lot of power and the writer, Richard Wright, in this bibliography discovers and illustrates the power that language can give or take away from an individual, a society, and a race. In this essay I will attempt to discuss the ways in which Richard and his father ” speak a different language” and why this alienation is significant in the social context of the American South. Because his father is not really featured a lot in the book, I will use the use language of all other black people that Richard comes into contact with; friends, family, and people he worked with and even the people he…show more content…
The principal explains to him that he doesn’t know what he is doing because there will be both black and white people in the audience. He decides to show his uncle both the speeches and his uncle agrees that the principals speech is the best of the 2. Richard decides to read his own speech at the graduation because it is important to him that the thoughts people hear from the speech are his own. This scenario in the book further shows us the theme of how black and white people speak to each other and how that is different from the way the races are expected to speak to each other. The fact that black people are not supposed to have their own thoughts because they don’t understand the world hence the principal writing the speech for him. Richard holds himself to a higher standard than that imposed upon him by his family and white people. He believes he can do and say what he wants and should be tied down to people’s ideas and ways of doing things. On page 253 we speaks about the vast sense of distance that that has been created between him and the world he lives in, and the sense that this distance is growing every day and is caused by his reading. Although reading here is meant literally as Richard spends his days reading to learn more about the world, it can also be seen as a metaphor for thinking. The more he allowed himself to think and have his own ideas outside of those that were forced on him by his family and white people he found himself drifting away from them because he cannot live as they do, having a mediocre
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