Black Boy Essay

Essay by Jimbob1310High School, 11th gradeA, December 2007

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This story, Black Boy is a great book that describes how the author, Richard Wright, suffered in the South of the United States during the time when there was still a lot of discrimination throughout the country. Since the author explained many of his horrible experiences in the past, this book cannot be written in a thin book. This thick book is full of his great experiences that wanted to be read by many people in the world in order to let everybody know the disasters of racism. This racism affected Richard Write a lot and he had to adapt to the environment that he was in, although he didn’t know how he should act in front of white people in the beginning of the story. There are not many examples in the beginning of the story since Richard was a little boy, and he still didn’t know about racism.

He did know that something was different between black and whites, but he wasn’t able to understand it since he was too young. He even talks to himself in Pg. 49 that “I had heard that colored people were killed and beaten, but so far it all had seemed remote. There was, of course, a vague uneasiness about it all, but I would be able to handle that when I came to it. It would be simple. If anybody tried to kill me, then I would kill them first.” After this, he realized the harshness of racism around his society when Uncle Hoskins got shot by a white man when he was at the saloon. And the reason is just because a black man was earning a lot of money and the white man became jealous. Also after this scene, there is an another example in Pg. 172 where he met his classmate, Ned Greenley who had lost his brother since the whites shot him for a specific reason. Ned said, “Th-they said he was fooling with a white prostitute there in the hotel.” Richard was shocked since he could be in those kinds of situations at any time. Richards starts to think of really going to North soon as possible now. In Chapter nine, there is a scene that is really harsh where Richard sees it, but could do nothing. This scene is at the clothing store for black people where Richard worked. The black employees were treated like slaves in the store; the white owners would push, kick, or slap the blacks. Although Richard saw this scene many times, he never got used to it. Another big thing is the time when Richard sees a black woman getting raped by two white men. This is a part from the book that describes how evil this time of period was. On Pg. 179, it says, “White people passed and looked on without expression. A white policeman watched from the corner, twirling his night stick; but he made no move. I watched out of the corner of my eyes, but I never slackened the strokes of my chamois upon the brass. After a moment or two I heard shrill screams coming from the rear room of the store; later the woman stumbled out, bleeding, crying, holding her stomach, her clothing torn. When she reached the sidewalk, the policeman met her, grabbed her, accused her of being drunk, called a patrol wagon and carted her away.” When I read this scene, it really hurt my heart. I couldn’t believe that the police didn’t do anything at all and although the policeman knew that the black woman was raped, he accused her of being drunken. Richard could have thought of saving the woman, but if he did something to the whites, he could be killed. Therefore, Richard wasn’t able to do anything. All he could do was to feel sorry for the lady. This doesn’t mean that Richard didn’t worry about the woman, it was the way how he had to act in the South. After Richard realizes the social cycle between the whites and the blacks at his work place, he sacrifices his morals to save more money. He begins to bootleg liquor to sell to white prostitutes in the hotel that he worked at. After that, he involves in a ring for scamming tickets. Then, he quickly amasses enough money to move out to the North. Although Richard was working earnest, he quits it because it was very hard to collect money if he had worked earnestly. Since Richard Write had an experience that he does not want to experience anymore, he was able to write this book, which would tell all the readers that discrimination or racism is not a good thing to do. He explained how he had to act as a black man; if he didn’t act like a black man, he might have not gotten the chance of writing this book. Richard Write had explained how blacks should act as a black, and although many horrible things were occurring around him, he wasn’t able to change it since he was just a black man. I feel that Richard really wanted to resist against the white men but if he did, he knew that he was going to be dead. Although in the beginning of the story, he said that, “If anybody tried to kill me, then I would kill them first”, as a result he wasn’t able to disobey the whites because he was scared of death. Since he was able to adapt to the society that he was in, he was able to earn money and was able to go to the North to have a better life.