Richard Wright's Needs

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Emmanuel Onoh

In Richard Wright’s Black Boy, Richard’s life was a lot of struggling right from a young age. He was a boy who likes to ask and know about things but, after his father is gone, there is not enough for his mother to afford to buy things such as food which was Richard’s greatest needs in chapter 1. Then in chapter 5, another problem came his way as his Mother gets very ill. Now he is going to have to take care of himself with his physical wellbeing.

In chapter 1of Richard Wright’s Black Boy, Wright develops his mind at a young age, but his greatest need was physical hunger. After his family is abandoned by his father, the family doesn’t have enough money for food. This struggling led to Richard feeling that “Hunger stole upon me so slowly that at first I was not aware of what hunger meant. Hunger had always been more or less at my elbow when I played, but now I began to wake up at night to find hunger standing at my beside, staring at me gauntly”[14]. Describing hunger as human reflects on how hungry he really was. Soon after the disappearance of his father, he begins to know hunger at a very young age. This often reappears in his ensuing life. The type of hunger he describes is worse than one who has not experienced chronic hunger can even imagine. He was literally starving. Anytime he complains to his mother about being hungry, his mother “would poor me a cup of tea which would still the clamor in my stomach for a moment or two; but a little later I would feel hunger nudging my ribs, twisting my empty guts until they ached" [14-15]. Richard reveals that the lack of food makes him miserable and he’s not always full like he wants. The tea was just to help his starvation mode but, it wasn’t even helping at all which shows that Richard was extremely hungry. In his young childhood, Richard now knows hunger and hunger knows him.

All through from chapter 1 to 5, Richards greatest need changed to physical wellbeing...
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