Ambitions Through Racism: Richard Wright
“As soon as I was old enough to think I had learned that… my aspiration had…been discounted.”- Richard Wrights, part 2, chapter 15. Wright is stating that society carries a stereotype on how your race can be determined an individual future before they are able to set a goal for themselves in life. Although Richard became a successful black writer that does not mean that it is grantee for everyone to be successful in what there are doing in life. Richard Wright was an African American author, and most of his word concerns racial theme, and most of his work is related to the plight of African American during the late 19th to the mid 20th centuries. Wright suffered from discrimination and violence in the South and the North. Wright wrote the novel Black Boy as an autobiography of his experiences he had growing up in poverty as a black child in America. The focus of the book is that it talks about how brutal white people were to black people in the South. Wright tells the readers how he was suffering as a child due to poverty, abusive household, and all the racist treatment. Richard Wright illustrates the theme of the intense aspiration to observe the racism in his surroundings.
To begin with Richard growing up as a black child made him get treated in an unfair way. A).In the article, “Creation of the self in Richard Wright’s Black Boy” Hakutani stated, that “Another degrading assumption white man hold about black men is that, since they were treated as animals, they are not supposed to possess intellectual capabilities. The reason for young Wright’s losing employment is often related to his intelligence, which poses a threat to the white man’s sense of superiority” (Hakutani 72). This quote shows that white men though of blacks as animals, so they treated them as one. This made Richard feel very hurtful that he quit his job due to white having more power and respect over the blacks making them feel useless. This shows how Richard was treated unfairly in his job, and he quits cause of discrimination from racism he was receiving from white.
Secondly, in the novel for Black Boy, Wright stated, “I had not yet learned anything that would have helped me to thread my way through these perplexing racial relations” (Wright265). This shows when Richard was in Chicago, he went to work for Mr. Hoffman, and he had lied that he didn’t live in the south in other to keep his job. But later Richard eventually leaves because Mr. Hoffman noticed that Richard used to live in the south, and he was also tired of the pettiness that was showed towards him. This shows how Richard was treated with pity in his job, which he did not like.
C). Thirdly, in the article “The Ending Importance of Richard Wright” Moskowitz stated that, “Wright’s short life represented a triumph of dogged determination over the virulent racial prejudice he depicted in his book” (Moskowitz 59). This quote shows that Richard was faced by the racism he was born surrounded by and he was very determined of what he wanted to achieve in life. Despite all the racism and the struggles, he had growing up he forced him to be isolated, anti-social, and made him follow the path of self-education in reading and writing, Which eventually turned out to be an escaping point from a rough childhood, and adult hood.
Secondly Richard Wright faced and struggled against racism in the South, North, and even against all the critics and racism he left his legacy in his books.
In the article “Poverty, injustice, violence- the themes of Richard Wright’s novel remain relevant” Millner stated that “Raised in poverty and hunger, and barely educated in rural Arkansas and Mississippi. Wright believed that ‘books are weapon’. His material spat in the face of indifference, forcing readers to acknowledge the racist underside of the American dream (Millner 1). This quote explain how Richard did not choose to be in poverty and he was born into it, so he must work hard and make the best of it. Richard also explain how he uses books to fight back against all the critics and stereotype that was made against black people. Richard books also attracted more readers about the racism under the American dream.
Richard also explained how he was being held back from his dream due to American critics. In the article “Richard Wright and His American Critics, 1936-1960′ Washington Jr. stated that “Measured against the social and intellectual history of its time, the criticism of Wright’s work is use of American literature…” (Washington Jr. 1). This shows how the work of Richard Wrights let a mark on the history on American literature despite all the criticism he went through in life.
Lastly, in the novel Black boy, Richard stated that, “I knew that my life was revolving about a world that I had to encounter and fight when grew up” (Wright 135). This quote shows how Richard mindset was when he was young, he knew it was going to be trough growing up as a black child in the South, so he had stand up for himself so due to the racism going on it made Richard be isolated and fight through racism through his books by writing and reading in order to be an African American author who left his history on American literacy.
Lastly, Richard remaining to be antisocial due to all the racism, and all the struggled.
In the novel Black boy Richard stated, “My life as a Negro in America had led me to feel-though my helplessness had made me try to hide it from myself-that the problem of human unity was more important than bread, more important physical living itself; for I felt that without a common bond uniting men, without a continuous current of shared thought and feeling circulating through the social system, like blood coursing through the body, there could be no living worthy of being called human” (Wright 156). This quote shows how Richard felt isolation from just being a Negro in America and he felt helpless, so he isolated himself. Richard felt antisocial cause of his race, which he cannot blame himself for and he just have to fight through his isolation and find something he really loves.
Richard showed how he became isolated because of him being force into religion which shows a sign of antisocialism because he was being forced into something he did not like. In the novel the Black Boy, Richard stated that, “We did not object, for church was not where we learned of God or his ways, but where we meet our school friends and continued our long rambling talks” (Wright 127). This shows how Richard thinks of Church as a place people from school or other places gather to meet each other and have a very long talk. Richard prospective of Church was just a waste of time.
Richard had a hard childhood growing up in an abusive household. In the novel Black Boy, Richard stated, “Knowing that if I did not win or make a goof showing I would have to fight a new boy each day, I fought tigerishly, trying to leave a scar, seeking to draw blood as a proof that I was not a coward, that I could take care of myself” (Wright 185). This shows how Richard has to fight to stay alive. Although he was shy to say anything in the classroom in school, he had no problem beating up kids because that the way he was raised.
In Conclusion, the novel Black Boy Richard Wright focal point in the struggle of a African American man from Jim Crow South. In the novel Richard cleared his mind from all the racism, religion, and other. At the end of the stay Richard felt isolation for produces, and he motivated himself to be a good reader and writer.