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Richard's Hungers (On The Book, Black Boy By Richard Wright )

893 words - 4 pages

Have you ever experienced real hunger? The kinds of hungers thatRichard experiences in Black Boy are not evident in the society whereyou and I reside. The present middle class citizens cannot really relateto true physical hunger. Hunger for most of us is when there is nothingthat we desire to eat around the house and therefore skip one meal. Thiscannot even compare to the days that Richard endures without food.Physical hunger, however, is not the only hunger apparent in Richard's life.Richard suffers from emotional and educational hungers as well. He yearnsfor such things as mere association with others and simple books to read.Both of which are things that most people take for granted. This efficaciousautobiography, Black Boy, by Richard Wright manifests what it is like todesire such simple paraphernalia.From a very early age and for much of his life thereafter, Richardexperiences chronic physical hunger. "Hunger stole upon me slowly that atfirst I was not aware of what hunger really meant. Hunger had always beenmore or less at my elbow when I played, but now I began to wake up at nightto find hunger standing at my bedside, staring at me gauntly" (16). Soonafter the disappearance of Richard's father, he begins to notice constantstarvation. This often reappears in his ensuing life. The type of hungerthat Richard describes is worse than one who has not experienced chronichunger can even imagine. "Once again I knew hunger, biting hunger, hungerthat made my body aimlessly restless, hunger that kept me on edge, thatmade my temper flare, that made my temper flare, hunger that made hateleap out of my heart like the dart of a serpent's tongue, hunger thatcreated in me odd cravings" (119). Because hunger has always been a partof Richard's lifestyle, he cannot even imagine eating meat every day.This simple privilege would be a miracle to him, yet to most it is nothing.These weakening and piercing hungers are frequently evident where povertydwells in the Jim Crow South.Furthermore, emotional hunger also represses much of Richard's life.Richard desires attention from people. However, since he does not receivemuch of this at home, he does not really know how to associate with others.This provokes a problem when he leaves home because he cannot understand thefriendliness of people around him. "Nevertheless, I was so starved forassociation with people that I allowed myself to be seduced by it all, andfor a few months I lived the life of an optimist" (178). Richard's home wasmostly a hostile environment, therefore, in addition to craving food he alsoyearns for love. Another thing that contributes to Richard's emotional hungerthe subject of blacks and whites. "I wanted to understand these two sets ofpeople who lived...

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