Black Boy by Richard Wright (essay on Richar's motivations)

Essay by elwinHigh School, 11th gradeA+, June 2005

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The nurturing of an individual, whether it be simple and calm or harsh and demanding, shapes that individual's future. If a person's earlier years are full of trials, they can grow into strong upright people, or they can shrink into bad people, full of hatred and anxiety. One such man, Richard Wright, as narrated in his autobiography Black Boy: An American Hunger, lived a terrible childhood, but it was those experiences he gained and those lessons he learned, that shaped into the good man he was to become.

Early in Wright's book, Richard killed a kitten based on a tired order from his father who is trying to get some sleep. Richard and his brother were playing with a stray cat, when his father ordered them to get rid of it. He then said, "Kill that damn thing!" (pg.11) That is just what Richard intended to do. He knew his father was just speaking figuratively because he was upset, but Richard also knew that if his father could not punish Richard without risking his authority.

Richard's began to take his strange situation and craft it to his own designs as early as when he was four. It may not have been an act of greatness, killing a kitten, but Richard learned how to challenge unjust authority without receiving physical punishment. But as Richard was going to bed that night, his mother "ordered me to go out into the dark. dig a grave, and bury the kitten." (pg.13) Filled with horror, Richard untied the cat from its noose and buried it. He learned there the value of life, even life people tend to consider unimportant.

Later on in life, Richard was given by his mother the task of buying groceries. Richard felt proud to do the "task of a...