The Writings of Richard Wright
Throughout history, the writings of many talented authors have reflected the
time period in which they lived. Often the overall tone, and attitude
of the novel is due to factors such as the environment in which the author was raised, or moral ethics that were instilled into their way of thinking.
Richard Wright is an African-American author whose writings greatly
reflected the time period in which he lived in. Native Son and Black Boy
are two classic examples of Wright's works that are profoundly influenced
by the era in which he lived.
Wright was born on September 4, 1908, in Natchez, Mississippi on a
small farm much in the same manner that his hero, Bigger Thomas, began his
life. Deprived, poor, and segregated against, Wright spent much of his
early childhood in pain, fear, and shame. He was repeatedly beaten by his
mother and grandmother for trying to fight back at the segregation imposed
upon him. He was also beaten by whites to whom he had to turn for jobs and
he was resentful of the Jim Crow rules by which he had to live. In Black
Boy, Wright's autobiography, he recalls a familiar childhood event: "I
would feel hunger nudging my ribs, twisting my empty guts until they ached.
I would grow dizzy and my vision would dim."
In Black Boy, Wright used his own life to exemplify what qualities of
imagination and intellect are necessary of a southern African-American in
order to understand the meaning of his life in the United States. Black
Boy also reveals it's 'author hero' as a man controlled by an absolute
certainty of his own virtues.
The ethics of living Jim Crow require that Wright be obedient and
silent. So although he was not a slave, he in essence was. He shared the
same emotions as the slaves and emphasized for them. Yet everything we
know about his character has prepared us to expect rebellion.
Wright could not, from his earliest years, tolerate this repression,
and Black Boy is the chronicle of his segregation, not only from the white
society but from with his own society.
While Black Boy represents a...