Growth Through Oppression

Essay by Bdon444High School, 11th gradeA+, January 2003

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In Richard Wright's autobiographical novel, Black Boy, the south is depicted as a bleak place where Wright is exposed to constant oppression and suffering. Critics have said that Wright's depiction of the south is unrealistic, and impossible. Although Wright's dark interpritation of the south may seem unbelievable, it is much closer to the truth than many critics believe. Richard had to endure and struggle against oppression, huger, and unimaginable misfortune during his life, but through his struggle Wright developed spiritually, socially, and psychologically.

The picture of the south that Wright shows the reader is unimaginably bleak. Many critics feel that the picture is too unbelievable (CLC, Vol. 21). The stories seem too horrible for many to believe. Wright's life itself is dark and filled with sorrow, but the way in which Wright describes other blacks and their stories give a more braud picture of black life in the south.

Richard tells of many blacks being murdered. One story was of a "Negro woman whose husband had been seized and killed by a mob" (73). The woman went to the whites that had killed her husband to beg for his body. When they gave her the body she knelt down, but as she did she pulled a shotgun from a sheet and killed four of the white men before they shot her. Wright also tells of the segregation and harshness of the whites on blacks, and of how many blacks were in jail and compared to how few whites. All these details paint a dismal picture of black life in the south. Although skeptics may not believe in these stories and the horrors for blacks in the south, to Wright they were all very real.

Wright's life is marked with tragedy, oppression, and a constant hunger that Wright could not...