Characters and Themes in Richard Wright's Black Boy

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Characters and Themes in Black Boy

The novel, Black Boy is Richard Wright's autobiographical account of his life beginning with his earliest memories and ending with his departure for the North at age nineteen. In Black Boy, Wright tells of an unsettled family life that takes him from Natchez, Mississippi, to Memphis, Tennessee, back to Jackson, Mississippi, then to Arkansas, back again to Mississippi, and finally to Memphis once more, where he prepares for his eventual migration to Chicago.

Most critics agree that Black Boy is a highly selective account, more selective than the term "record" in its subtitle suggests. At the
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also has a difficult relationship with Granny, a deeply religious

woman who seems to be genuinely worried about the state of Richard's

soul. She is always ready to aid a family member in need, and she

takes in Richard and his mother during Mrs. Wright's illness. But

her conception of Richard's welfare does not consider his happiness an

important issue. Much of Richard's rebellious spirit seems to

develop from his struggle against Granny's rules.

On the other hand, Richard's father is important primarily for

abandoning him and his mother and thus causing much of their

deprivation. He seems to be a simple and somewhat selfish man with

little interest in the effect of his behavior on his family.
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