This essay compares Richard Wright's "Black Boy" and Baldwin's excerpt from "My Dungeon Shook." They both share common themes and events that relate to each other.

Essay by jdawg1369High School, 11th gradeA+, December 2003

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In literature, a popular difficulty that occurs among individuals is racism. Shockingly, little has changed between races in this country since Richard Wright's Black Boy and James Baldwin's "My Dungeon Shook" have been published. In his letter Baldwin writes, "You were born where you are born and faced the future you faced because you were black and for no other reason. The limits of your ambition were, thus, expected to be set forever. You were born into a society which spelled out with brutal clarity, and in as many ways as possible, that you were a worthless human being. You were not expected to aspire to excellence: you were expected to make peace with mediocrity. ...The details and symbols of your life have been deliberately constructed to make you believe what white people say about you. Please try to remember that what they believe, as well as what they do and cause you to endure, does not testify to your inferiority but to their inhumanity and fear. was intended that you should perish in the ghetto, perish by never being allowed to go beyond the white man's definitions, by never being allowed to spell your proper name. You have, and many of us have, defeated this intention... and we can make America what America must become." This selection relates to events, and themes that are presented in Black Boy.

Black Boy portrays the deprivation Richard Wright faces and experiences while growing up. It shows poverty, hunger, lack of emotional support, miserable living conditions, and his response to these difficulties. The book also considers family life. For Richard, home is a place of intense emotional conflict, and his family forces him to fight back constantly in order to be able to pursue his own path.

Richard and...