Alienation in "Black Boy"

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Carlos Hernandez
Eng. 111
Prof. Weitz

Causes of Alienation in Black Boy
Black Boy demonstrates how the protagonist, Richard Wright, alienated himself from his community because he did not share the same religious and societal beliefs practiced by his community and felt that the questions he had about everyday life would not be answered if he conformed to his degraded position in society. Richard alienated himself from his community because he wanted to find answers to his questions about racism that were not being answered. His desire and capacity for knowledge is discouraged and underestimated by whites and blacks due to living in the Jim Crow South. Religion is also a cause of alienation because Richard does not share the same enthusiasm for religion as the community does. These are all causes of alienation for Richard.

The first signs of alienation come as a result of Richard’s curiosity with the world around him. An insatiable sense of curiosity grew in him after learning to read, write, and count to one hundred that he soon became, “a nuisance by asking far too many questions of everybody.” This led him to learn about the relations between whites and blacks. After finding out about the white man beating the black boy he began to ask questions regarding race and why there is a puzzling coexistence between whites and blacks. He asked his mother why that happened and she simply responded by saying, “You’re too young young to understand.” She did this to dodge this controversial topic. He had so many questions regarding this topic and no one in his community was willing to give him a straight, if any, answer. On another occasion, Richard asked his mother if they could look in the white side of the train and noticed his mother becoming irritated. “I had begun to notice that my mother became irritated when I questioned her about whites and blacks, and I could not...
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