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The Price Of Wisdom: Richard Wright's Autobiography Black Boy. This Essay Is About Wright's "Impact Of Acquiring Wisdom In A World That Is Unwise."

1016 words - 4 pages

The Price of WisdomWhile most people believe knowledge and wisdom to be interchangeable, they are very different. Knowledge is the understanding gained through experience or study, while wisdom is the ability to use that information to suit ones' purpose. The more aware a person is, the more wise they are able to become. In Richard Wright's autobiography Black Boy, he demonstrates the impact of acquiring wisdom in a world that is unwise. As a small child, his naivety gets him into a lot of trouble. He burns his grandmother's house down when he is four, and decides to run away. Due to his naivety, his first choice to hide is underneath that very house. Many other events happen in his youth, causing his knowledge and wisdom to grow through the years.Richard's wisdom began to develop through violence at a young age. His immediate family, save his brother, beat him a lot. One could argue that the beatings was justified, as his family was trying to stunt his individuality and his personality to keep him from getting beat or killed by white folks later on in his life. Richard vowed never to be beaten again after he was wrongfully "punished" by his Aunt Addie in front of her class. "I was sure of one thing: I would not be beaten by her again. I had often been painfully beaten, but almost always I had felt that the beatings were somehow right and sensible, that I was in the wrong. Now, for the first time, I felt the equal of an adult; I knew I had been beaten for a reason that was not right." When he returned home that day, his Aunt Addie attempted to beat him again. His first act of defiance involved him grabbing a kitchen knife and threatening Addie; "Leave me alone or I'll cut you!" Through most of his childhood, similar events occurred, including an incident with his Uncle Tom. His actions and the inability of the adults in his life to stop them allowed him to develop a personality with the idea that he was an equal to adults; he would not be beaten for "a reason that was not right."Racism was another substance in his life that affected him. In his early childhood years, he was sheltered from white racists, which is incredible seeing as he was brought up in Jackson. He did hear about racism from other black people, but it never really affected him. One day Richard heard about a black boy that was beaten by a white man. He asked his mother, "Why did the 'white' man whip the 'black' boy?" She simply responded, "You're too young to understand." His 'understanding' didn't start until he began to work for white people. His first two jobs were insightful for Richard, showing him the first glimpses of racial boundaries. He was aware that white people were different from him, but he had never experienced their attitude towards black people. In his first job, he is asked by the...

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