Use of Diction and Imagery in Richard Wright’s Black Boy
Black Boy, which was written by Richard Wright, is an autobiography of his upbringing and of all of the trouble he encountered while growing up. Black Boy is full of drama that will sometimes make the reader laugh and other times make the reader cry. Black Boy is most known for its appeals to emotions, which will keep the reader on the edge of his/her seat. In Black Boy Richard talks about his social acceptance and identity and how it affected him. In Black Boy, Richard’s diction showed his social acceptance and his imagery showed his identity.
First, the diction that Richard Wright uses in this passage of him in the library shows his social acceptance. An example of this is when Mr. Faulk, the librarian, lets Richard borrow his library card to check out books from the library. Richard writes, a note saying, “Dear Madam; Will you please let this nigger boy have some books by H.L Mencken. ” Richard uses, “nigger boy,” on the card so the other librarian would think that Mr. Faulk had written the note, not him. Richard having to write the word “nigger” on the library shows that if Richard would have written “black boy” instead, the librarian would have known he would have written the note. The fact that Richard has to lie and write a note to just be able to get the books from the library is an example of his social acceptance. Another example of diction showing Richard’s social acceptance is when Mr. Faulk gives Richard the library card and he tells Richard not to mention this to any other “white man.” By reading this statement by Mr. Faulk, it clearly shows how unaccepted blacks were and how afraid people were to be connected to them, even if it only involved giving them a library card. Another example of diction is when the librarian asks Richard, “You’re not using these books, are you.” This quote by the librarian represents the feelings of most of the white men in that time: that blacks being able to use books and even read them was not socially acceptable. This also shows that black people were not even thought to be literate at all.
Second, the imagery in the passage of Richard writing the article, “The...