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Richard Wright As the Author and Protagonist In the book Black Boy: Critical Analysis

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Black people have had a hard time going through many different situations just because of their skin color. Every single individual deserves to receive their own rights and be treated equally. Growing up in the 20th century was hard, because racism happened all the time. The Blacks suffered a lot through different oppressions; it makes them hurt both physically and mentally.

In the book Black Boy, Richard Wright is the author of his book and protagonist. He shared his early life to the readers which shows how much Black people faced mental and physical violence. He talked about how Blacks deal with much discrimination and racist situations during the Jim Crow era in the United States’ South. Lots of Black Americans suffered unfairly since they didn’t even do anything wrong. Wright was born in a violent and poor family. He got abuse and hate when he didn’t do anything wrong. People kept threatening and fighting him because they thought he was not the same with them, so he doesn’t get to live close to them since they are Whites Americans and he is Black. At the young age, not only the strangers bullied him, his parents also were a part of the violence. Wright’s mother beat and was violent to him too much, making him lose consciousness and become sick. When Wright and his brother were still very young, Wright’s dad left the family to live with another woman. At that young age without their father’s financial support, his family had to suffer through poverty and hunger. Since Richard Wright suffered a lot through hunger and hardship, he hated his father even more.

After his father left for another woman, a few years later Wright’s mother had a hard time to raise her children in Tennessee. By the age of six, Wright got into many troubles: he was an alcoholic, usually at the local saloon, and was spying on other people because his mother didn’t supervise her children enough since she had to work long hours. Her health became worse, so Wright had to work in order to provide income for his family. He did all the work that children usually don’t do. He was the only one at that moment who could work to earn money. He couldn’t attend school. He didn’t have the option to pick if he could go to school or not because of his current situation that his mom was sick, and his dad left his family to live with another woman. He also had to move to different states due to his childhood circumstances, which were his financial problems and the racism during the Jim Crow era in the South. Because Richard Wright couldn’t go to school, he had to learn through books that he found in the library. He ignored how strangers acted rudely to him and kept on with his passion for writing and reading to learn more knowledge. Not only that, he published his own story in the local black newspaper, and he was the valedictorian when he graduated from ninth grade. It showed that even though he had a hard time and suffered a lot, nothing could stop him from moving forward or make him give up.

During the 20th century, racism was a very big problem that affected the Black community. What happened to Richard Wright was not as bad when compared to what he went through at his workplace. He tended to get beat up by others because of racism. He got fired since his two White Southern co-workers think Black people don’t deserve to have skilled-work positions. Wright got really upset because of his boss who hired him didn’t help him much in the situation. All the racism hit his limit to handle, so he decided to move as soon as possible to the North. He was willing to steal in order to have enough money which allow him to move to Memphis where it is safer for him to temporarily stay before travelling to his last destination, Chicago. He has gone through all these terrible times because of how people were racist to him which created despair in him. Moving to Chicago didn’t improve his situation much, he continued to face segregation, poverty and racism. He worked at the corrupt insurance company which takes advantage of poor Black people which was against his own morals. He worked many different places, then he ended try to have a position in the post office. After that, the Great Depression occurred. It made lots of workers included Richard Wright become unemployment. That moment, he found that Communism was attracted to him, when its purpose is to protect those got oppressed. Wright became one of the Communist party members. Not while long later, he thought Communist party is the same to other parties, so he quitted the party on the May Day parade.

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Beside Black Boy, in Separate Pasts the author, Melton McLaurin shared his own story about his childhood with his Black friend, Bobo. McLaurin is a White child who grows up in the small segregated town in Wade, North Carolina. He witnessed racism and discrimination activities everyday throughout his childhood times. In this small town, most public arenas and schools were segregated and racism was exhibited at everywhere. At the beginning of Separate Pasts, McLaurin talks about his first time recognized the difference between how Blacks and Whites were treated at where he lived. He was raised up in the racist attitudes and it affected a part of himself.

Bobo is a Black innocent child who was treated unequally during the 1950s because he has different skin color to others. McLaurin, Bobo and another Black child went to fill up a basketball game. Bobo tried to refill the ball first, then turned out he didn’t fill it up enough air. Since the ball didn’t have enough air, McLaurin tried to do it. The moment when he put the needle into his mouth, he was overwhelmed by the feeling that was always with him, engendered by attitudes handed down to him by those around him that he was threatened “with germs which, everyone said, were common among Blacks”.

Moreover, the dynamics of interracial sexual relations in the village were also a big issue. McLaurin told the reader about there was a White lady slept with a Black man. Both them ended up passed away by the shotgun from her White’s husband. The point that surprising people was not only the White guy was be acquitted, he was put on trial even it was obviously his fault. The racist attitudes and biases became bigger and bigger around the small town, no wonder when young White people would unknowingly adopt. Since they were grown up not in a good environment, it made them turn out into different people.

In conclusion, our society is modernized, so racism issue gets improved so much better, but there is still small group in the national that has people treat others unequally just because the difference of skin color. Instead of segregating, everyone should open their heart and mind to understand more other people in order to make the society better. Each one of us deserves to receive equal right in everything. We’re all human beings, we may look different, our personalities are different, but everyone has equal rights.

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Richard Wright As the Author and Protagonist In the book Black Boy: Critical Analysis. (2022, July 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved January 27, 2023, from
“Richard Wright As the Author and Protagonist In the book Black Boy: Critical Analysis.” Edubirdie, 14 Jul. 2022,
Richard Wright As the Author and Protagonist In the book Black Boy: Critical Analysis. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 27 Jan. 2023].
Richard Wright As the Author and Protagonist In the book Black Boy: Critical Analysis [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jul 14 [cited 2023 Jan 27]. Available from:
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