"Black Boy" by Richard Right Analysis

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A person always has a reason to lie, cheat, or steal. These acts are reprehensible in nature, yet sometimes necessary for an individual’s survival. In Richard Wright’s autobiography, Black Boy, Richard is a victim of his circumstances who learned to survive in world that did not offer him sound guidance and positive instruction. As a black male in the Jim Crowe South and the unforgiving North, Richard learns that in order to survive he must adapt to whatever situation is before him. Richard cannot be held responsible for his reprehensible acts, not because they were acceptable, but because they were all he knew.

Love, comfort and security are pieces of a puzzle that create happy and healthy human beings. The security and comfort that one receives from a stable home environment were as foreign to Richard as a decent meal. By his sixth birthday, Richard’s father had abandoned him, his mother and his younger brother. Richard was aware that his father had not been home in a few days, and was glad that he was absent because, “he was not here to shout restrictions at me.” (15) Unbeknown to Richard, “his absence would mean that there would be no food.” (15) Richard’s mother was able to find work as a cook, but had to leave him and his brother at home while she worked. Richard’s mother did her best to provide meals and a stable home for her children, but was unable to keep up with either. Because of this, Richard was always hungry and his family was forced to move from their home. From that point on Richard’s images of his father, “became associated with my [his] pangs of hunger”… “whenever I [he] felt hunger I [he] thought of him with deep biological bitterness.”(16)

Already bitter, Richard’s youth was filled with more unhealthy influences. At the age of six Richard took great pleasure in exploring the streets of his neighborhood while his mother worked. There was a saloon in the neighborhood that allowed him to drink alcohol and recite indecent...
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