Essay on Black Boy by Richard Wright

Words: 1817
Pages: 8

Black Boy by Richard Wright Summary

November 25, 2012
Black Boy is an autobiography of Richard Wright who grew up in the backwoods of Mississippi. He lived in poverty, hunger, fear, and hatred. He lied, stole, and had rage towards those around him; at six he was a "drunkard," hanging about in taverns. He was surrounded on one side by whites who were either indifferent to him, pitying, or cruel, and on the other by blacks who resented anyone trying to rise above the common people who were slaves or struggling.
The book opens with Richard who is 4 years old at the time, who is required by his mother to sit still and quiet while his grandmother lays in the next room very sick. Richard is bored and sticks a broom in the fireplace then
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The book ends by Richard wanting to use his writings to search for a way to start a revolution: he thinks that everyone has a "hunger" for life that needs to be filled, and for him, politics is his way.
Racism is the main issue in Black Boy, and I think that Richard feels that the true problem of racism is not simply that it exists, but that its roots in American culture are so deep it is doubtful whether these roots can be destroyed without destroying the culture itself.
This book can be related to psychology in many ways, and the term adjustment comes into play. Adjustment refers to the psychological process through which people manage or cope with the demands and challenges of everyday life. Richard was maladjusted from the chronic abuse that he went through, the lack of a father fiqure or positive role model, and even the lack of food. His basic physiological needs such as hunger could not be met. This refers to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Also, his safety and security needs were not met, and belonging and love needs also had a huge void. Richard would progress when there were good times, like when he moved in with his aunt for a brief period of time. His aunt had more financial stability then Richard had ever encountered and there was plenty of food, structure and schooling. Times like these is when Richard blossomed and seemed to leave his problems behind him.