Race and Identity in Richard Wright's Black Boy

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Stephen Donato Professor Schmitz HSF 20 September 2012 Race and Identity in Richard Wright’s Black Boy Each and every person on this Earth today has an identity. Over the years, each individual creates their identity through past experiences, family, race, and many other factors. Race, which continues to cause problems in today’s world, places individuals into certain categories. Based on their race, people are designated to be part of a larger, or group identity instead of being viewed as a person with a unique identity. Throughout Richard Wright’s Black Boy, Richard is on a search for his true identity. Throughout Black Boy, one can see that Richard’s racial background assigns him with a certain identity or a certain way in which some…show more content…
However, she is only doing this in order to help Richard survive in the future. By winning the right to the streets of Memphis, Richard is growing more independent. He no longer relies on his father to bring home food because he is not coming back, and he is able to stand up for himself when the time comes. Richard becomes more independent throughout different experiences in Black Boy. Richard’s grandmother, a devoutly religious person, has an underlying grievance with Richard because he is not religious. Richard’s grandmother begins to shelter him by not buying him books which he needs for school. Richard explains, “I needed textbooks and had to wait for months to obtain them. Granny said that she would not buy worldly books for me” (Wright 143). In addition, Richard claims that his Granny always burned the books he had brought into the house, “branding them as worldly” (Wright 151). Richard needed money to buy his books, some new clothes, and lunch during the week at school. However, his grandmother continues to shelter him by not allowing him to work. When Richard asked to work on the weekends, Richard explains that “she laid down the injunction that I could not work on Saturdays while I slept under her roof” (Wright 147). These two instances with his grandmother show Richard’s ambition. Richard wants to make something of himself, and does not want to sit back and live the usual life of a black
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