Rhetorical Techniques in Richard Wright’s Black Boy
Richard Wright uses language in his novel, Black Boy, as a source to convey his opinions and ideas. His novel both challenges and defends the claim that language can represent a person and become a peephole into their life and surroundings. Richard Wright uses several rhetorical techniques to convey his own ideas about the uses of language.
First, Wright’s language and writing style in Black Boy challenge Baldwin’s ideas. For example, pages 18-19 are purely figures pf speech that convey the writer as being far different than Wright. “There was the languor I felt when I heard green leaves rustling with a rain like sound.” This quote was just one of the sensory enticing statements Wright used to show his delicate way of writing; a way of writing that would not typically belong a lower class black male in the 1940’s. In addition, the organization of the passage was unique in the sense of how each statement was separate, in order to make each important and each a work of art. Assuming Baldwin having read this passage, he would have been astonished that it was not a high class, highly educated white man who wrote it.
Furthermore, the intense amount of detail made each statement able to stand on it’s own. Each sentence started by the use of repetition, there was, made the reader stop after every period, hold their breath, and ponder the delicacy of each statement. The detail, especially in this sentence, “their was the aching glory in masses of clouds burning gold and purple from an invisible sun,” assisted the reader in the mental imagery. Wright’s mature use of rhetorical strategies in his passage challenged Baldwin’s idea that language represents the person speaking, or writing in this case. Wright’s language did not represent his parents, his youth, his school, his salary, nor his self esteem. His language merely validified Richard as a gifted,...