Beliefs In Black Boy By Richard Wright
Richard Wright chooses the topic Black Boy to narrate on his life experiences and what he went through while growing up as a black person. In his book, Wright provides a significant turning point of black literature, in which he honestly describes the necessity of individuals living in a society founded and built on individualism and free enterprise to have an educational foundation in their own personal values and interacting freely with their surrounding environment. The freedom of choice allows blacks to be free and for every individual to try and make their own lives better. Wright’s most significant characteristic is his great belief in his own capabilities and value in society. Through his belief, he is stubborn, willful, and lacks respect for authorities, placing him at odd intervals with other people expecting him to accept his place in society. He ends up being punished on various occasions for failure to conform with expected social norms. Wright writes ‘color hate’ exists because America is insistent on viewing the world in terms of good and bad, holy and evil, high and low, white and black (272). Although the society seems to be conformed to certain norms, Wright believes that good and bad are significant factors in understanding individuals’ behaviors.
The negative characters exhibited by individuals due to their indifferences pose the notion of the bad that exists in the world. While growing up, Wright reveals signs of inferiority, insecurity, and shame whenever he is around White people. He defines the ‘color hate’ as a significant division between whites and blacks, which makes him doubt his self-assurance and punishes his childhood. Wright writes, “They’ll call you a colored man when you grow up.” (Chap 2, pg. 49). His tough childhood convinces him of his right to succeeding and being significant to the world. Wright’s childhood was full of challenges and isolating. As a black person, it was difficult to live in a society where whites failed to appreciate blacks. He writes, “Color hate defined the place of black life as below that of white life,” (Chap 15, pg. 266). The divisions existing between individuals pose a challenge to the world, an implication of the bad tat lurks in this world.
Regardless of the challenges that individuals face, having the courage to face these challenges and working through tough situations demonstrates the good belief that is portrayed by Wright. Both the black and white communities in the South fall victim of their oppressive forces. These forces work against Wright, forcing him to fall victim of negative factors, such as lying, stealing and turning violent on various occasions. Regardless of these negative factors, Wright remains fixated on doing good for humanity, individually and universally. He writes, “I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of the hunger of life that gnaws in us all, to keep alive in our hearts a sense of the inexpressibly human.” (Chap 20, pg. 384). Even though Wright is an outsider, he still feels a strong connection with other people in society and envisions a better society for every individual, regardless differences in race or color. He says, “Having been thrust out of the world because of my race, I had accepted my destiny by not being curious about what shaped it.” (Chap 16, pg. 288). Accepting the negative factors surrounding us and focusing on the positive aspects that we can offer the world, demonstrates the good the still exists in the world.
Society is conformed to certain norms that guide individuals. Wright is keen on capturing the belief of good and bad existing among individuals, as significant factors attributed from their behaviors. He captures the indifferences between individuals, which results to mistreatment, misjudgment, and misunderstanding, thereby deploying a belief of the bad that affects society. Regardless of the negative factors affecting society, there is existence of good when individuals accept who they are and work towards creating a better society.