A Comparison Of Self Realization In Black Boy, Native Son, Rite Of Passage, And The Long Dream

2516 words - 10 pages

Black Boy, Native Son, Rite Of Passage, and The Long Dream:  Self-realization of a Black Man     

   The white world dominates the political and social life in all of Richard Wright's books as Wright portrays the never-ending struggle that a young black male faces when growing up in the United States. Wright's Black Boy, Native Son, Rite Of Passage, and The Long Dream are all bound by the common theme of self-realization. In all four books, the climax occurs when a black youth realizes his position in society and the ugly future that lies ahead of him.

            In his autobiography Black Boy, Wright reveals his personal experience as a black maturing in a white society. The process of achieving self-realization is marked by all the verbal and physical battles that the main characters in Wright's books must fight. He makes clear what all his characters experience, when he writes in Black Boy, "I had never in my life been abused by whites, but I had already become as conditioned to their existence as though I had been the victim of a thousand lynchings" (34). The powerful presence of whites in a black youth's life is embedded since birth but emerges clearly during the period of self-realization for the black youth

            In Native Son, the main character, Bigger Thomas, lives in a one-room apartment with his mother, brother, and sister in a black ghetto on the South Side of Chicago. Bigger sees whites through hate- and jealousy-filled eyes. Feelings of inferiority to whites consumes Bigger's life. However, he tries to help his family by working for a wealthy, well-respected white family. But, in a moment of fear and hysteria, Bigger commits a murder that alters his life forever. Compared to the three other main characters in Wright's books, Bigger is the oldest and has already developed a deep resentment of his situation in society.

"I could fly a plane if I had the chance," Bigger said. "If you wasn't black and if you had some money and if they'd let you go to that aviation school, you could fly a plane," Gus said. For a moment Bigger contemplated all the ifs that Gus had mentioned. Then both boys broke into hard laughter, looking at each other through squinted eyes (17).

Bigger knows that he is limited by society, but he does not possess the resources to combat the injustices he experiences. Bigger has no father, which creates the burden of having to support the rest of his family. He is under constant pressure from his mother, who nags and pleads with Bigger to get a job and to become a real man. "We wouldn't have to live in this garbage dump if you had any manhood in you," she says." (7) She has no goals for herself or for Bigger, other than moving out of their rat-infested apartment. Bigger has no significant education, skills, or talents. He also lacks confidence and determination. He really possesses only the understanding that he is worthless in the white man's world. This is a kind of self-realization,...

Find Another Essay On A Comparison of Self-realization in Black Boy, Native Son, Rite Of Passage, and The Long Dream

Feminine Mystique and Black boy Comparison

1199 words - 5 pages Feminine Mystique and Black boy Comparison Fighting for survival and status within the world has been in affect since the Stone Age. It starts with man against beast battling for survival. As time goes on, so does the type of battle, from beast to man against man. When conquerors from Europe come over to North America they push the Indians west because they, the Indians, do not fit into the society the white man creates and

rite of passage Essay

870 words - 3 pages All people have an experience of ¡°Rite of Passage¡± because it is necessary to be an adult. What is Rite of Passage? It means a ritual or ceremony signifying an event in a person's life indicative of a transition from one stage to another, as from adolescence to adulthood. In the story ¡°Barn Burning¡± by William Faulkner, Sarty, who was the son of barn burner- Abner Snopes, he experienced his Rite of Passage at the end of the story. Although

Rite of Passage

1459 words - 6 pages stage is the transition stage. This is the period that tests the adolescent physically, mentally and morally. This will help the adolescent get prepared for adulthood. The final stage is reincorporation. In this stage the adolescent returns home as an adult along with all of the privileges and responsibilities of an adult. The rite of passage that children go through to enter adulthood is a difficult one. This paper will describe the changes and

Rite of Passage

4000 words - 16 pages Prometheus. These are shackles of slavery that we are all born into. So, as man adapts by creating and implementing tools, he created another tool as an adaptation, the Rite of Passage. The Rite of Passage allows man to facilitate the conception of his integrated Self through his relation to the tangible world in the structure of a ritual, which is an articulated window back into the symbolic world. This ritual is a fail- safe mechanism to alert the

Rite of Passage

972 words - 4 pages Rites of passage have existed throughout human history and may be a significant factor in the development of a stable adult personality. Broken down into its most basic elements, a rite of passage involves a separation from society, preparation or instruction from an elder, a transition (in the case of adolescence, from child to adult), and a welcoming back into society with acknowledgment of the adolescent's changed status. (Delaney, 1995)Today

Rite of Passage - 1213 words

1213 words - 5 pages Rite of Passage "Greasy Lake" by T.C. Boyle is a tale of one young man's quest for the "rich scent of possibility on the breeze." It was a time in a man's life when there was an almost palpable sense of destiny, as if something was about to happen, like a rite of passage that will thrust him into adulthood or cement his "badness" forever. The story opens with our narrator on a night of debauchery with his friends drinking, eating, and

Rite of Passage - 1387 words

1387 words - 6 pages life. In the United States, adolescence starts around 13 and ends around 19. During this stage of life, puberty sets in and there are changes in sex characteristics which take place. These are secondary sex characteristics which are a deeper voice for boys and girls develop breast and commonly have their first menstrual period. In many cultures the arrival of menstruation is seen as a rite of passage for girls, however, in the United States this is

Rite of Passage - 1815 words

1815 words - 7 pages Part I - Rite of PassageFor both genders, the rite of passage will be one of separation from peers, family and home for a summer abroad. Female is 14, Male is 13; siblings from same household. Parents together, upper middle class income,Through their school, both have been invited to participate in a Summer Abroad Program in France, living with separate French families in a medium sized town, and taking summer classes with other American

Rite of Passage - 1504 words

1504 words - 6 pages people today feel it is beneficial for young adults to go through a rite of passage to help them to become responsible adults.During adolescence individuals are very curious about the opposite sex and sexual craze is highly developed at this stage which can cause undesirable social problems. At this stage in their lives adolescents are very socially conscious. Juvenile delinquency is also highly prone during adolescence. This is why it is so

Hatred in Notes of a Native Son

1254 words - 5 pages to illustrate the destructive nature of the black society’s hatred for white society in “Notes of a Native Son”. The hatred many African Americans possessed during the 1950s caused multiple riots. Baldwin touches on this in “Notes of a Native Son”, by mentioning the Harlem riots that broke out during the time of his father’s death. Baldwin states that “it would have been better to have left the plate glass as it had been and the goods lying

Alice Munro's limited feminist approach in conveying a young girl's rite of passage in her short story "Boys and Girls".

1257 words - 5 pages scheme, only out to plot and gain control over the innocent.In the end of the story though, the girl enters her own rite of passage, watching the horse being shot. When it comes time for Flora to be shot the girl is apprehensive, " Yet I felt a little ashamed, and there was a new wariness, a sense of holding-off, in my attitude to my father and his work." The author slowly touches on final hints that the child is growing into her woman like

Similar Essays

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind, By William Kamkwamba And Notes Of A Native Son, By James Baldwin

1270 words - 5 pages having a special relationship of compassion and understanding with these two texts as it has given me insight to what I think, a fatherly relationship should be. Works Cited Kamkwamba, William, and Bryan Mealer. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope. New York: HarperCollins, 2009. Print. Baldwin, James. “Notes of a Native Son.” (1955): Rpt. In The Writer’s Presence: A pool of Readings. 6th ed. Ed. McQuade, Donald, and Robert Atwan. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009. 33-49. Print.

A Comparison Between Native Son And The Blacker

2222 words - 9 pages prejudice thoughts can affect how Emma Lou is treated but it also affects how she sees people too. Self-actualization appears at the end of the story to be what Emma has been searching for all along but, like the reader, she does not notice it until its there.  In Richard Wright's Native Son Bigger Thomas, the protagonist, is a young man in his late teens living with his mom, sister, and brother in a one-bedroom rat infested apartment in

Comparison Of James Baldwin's Essay "Notes Of A Native Son" And John Wideman's Collection Of Homewood Stories "Our Time."

959 words - 4 pages In James Baldwin's essay "Notes of a Native Son", Baldwin's father contracted a disease and passed away. Similarly in John Wideman's collection of Homewood stories "Our Time." Wideman's brother Robby had a friend die of a terminal disease. The death of this close relation led both James Baldwin and Roby Wideman into a spiral of remorse and frustration. "The moment I saw him I knew why I had put off the visit so long....I hated him....and

Depictions Of Self Image: A Comparison Of Gender And Persona In Butch Mystique And Rehearsing A Dream.

1048 words - 4 pages experiences of different women who identify themselves as butch in the GLBT movement. By the same token, Rehearsing a Dream by Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon chronicle the lives of several talented high school students who spend a week immersed in the world of art trying to define who they are and trying to perfect their craft. Both documentary center heavily in finding the real definition of people: the persons portrayed challenge the definition that