Opposites Don’t Attract: Granny in “Black Boy”

Isaac Newton, a prominent English physicist and mathematician, devised his 3rd law of motion: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In the autobiography Black Boy by Richard Wright, a key influence in Richard’s life is his grandmother, referred to as Granny throughout the book, who incessantly tries to make Richard embrace … Read moreOpposites Don’t Attract: Granny in “Black Boy”

Constructing an Identity: James McBride and Richard Wright

The world is full of predispositions that favor the majority and hinder minorities. James McBride’s memoir, The Color of Water, and Richard Wright’s autobiography, Black Boy, both address the disadvantages that minorities face. In these narratives, Ruth McBride, James McBride, and Richard Wright are all surrounded by ignorant people who pressure them to conform to … Read moreConstructing an Identity: James McBride and Richard Wright

Hunger in Black Boy

In Richard Wright’s autobiographical novel Black Boy, the narrator frequently speaks about his severe physical hunger and the emptiness it brings him. While his physical hunger shapes his actions as a child, the gravity of the emotional and cultural hunger that Richard suffers from later in life overpowers these primitive urges. Throughout his story, Richard … Read moreHunger in Black Boy

The Quest for Salvation: Religion in Wise Blood and Black Boy

The Christian religion plays a key role in both Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood and Richard Wright’s Black Boy. Despite the authors’ ideological differences, both Wright’s childhood self and O’Connor’s protagonist, Hazel Motes, share common objectives: to understand and overcome the traumatic religious experiences imposed upon them during their upbringings, and, ultimately, to achieve self-identity and … Read moreThe Quest for Salvation: Religion in Wise Blood and Black Boy

Breaking the Black Mold: The Literary Empowerment of African Americans

Prior to the 1920s and the Harlem Renaissance, the voice of the African American narrative was relegated to stories derived from folk traditions. Tall tales, fables, trickster stories and preacher tales dominated the body of African American literature. And through these stories, a self-perpetuating stereotype of the black identity coursed through America, not only in … Read moreBreaking the Black Mold: The Literary Empowerment of African Americans

The Quest for Knowledge in Wright’s Black Boy

In his autobiographical account, Black Boy, Richard Wright instills in the reader the hunger that he felt for knowledge, as this drive had been suppressed by his environment. Wright’s quest for knowledge and literacy parallels that of W. E. B. DuBois, a contemporary who had many of the same goals for all African-Americans that Wright … Read moreThe Quest for Knowledge in Wright’s Black Boy

The Horror and the Glory of Language

Richard Wright’s novel Black Boy is not only a story about one man’s struggle to find freedom and intellectual happiness, it is a story about his discovery of language’s inherent strengths and weaknesses. And the ways in which its power can separate one soul from another and one class from another. Throughout the novel, he … Read moreThe Horror and the Glory of Language

The Lessons of Loneliness and Isolation in ‘Black Boy’

There is an incomprehensible secret embodied in the highly intimate affair of someone else’s emotions. Even when the thoughts of others come fully into the orbit of one’s concern, they are often difficult to dissect and subsequently understand. This is true of all emotions, but notably that of loneliness. Usually characterized by the depressing feeling … Read moreThe Lessons of Loneliness and Isolation in ‘Black Boy’