ESSSSSAAAAY

ESSSSSAAAAY - Mull 1 Jason Mull 12-05-08 English 31AC...

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Mull 1 Jason Mull 12-05-08 English 31AC Language as Therapy Richard Wright’s Black Boy describes Wright’s childhood in Jim-crow south, while Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried is based in the battlefields of Vietnam. Both describe personal accounts of some the most terrible events of human history and the darkest realms of the human heart. They are marked by suffering and seemingly senseless violence, and yet these authors persevere. While surrounded by the most insidious aspects of mankind, they are both still “filled with a hard, aching love for how the world could be and always should be, but now is not” (82). In all of this violence and trauma, both are driven to of all things, write. It seems then, that there is something therapeutic in the act of writing. The novels of these men, could, perhaps, be seen as a purge of their darkest and most brutal memories. There is a sense of release, or maybe redemption in their writing. Richard Wright’s childhood is steeped in senseless violence. He is beaten at a young age, his earliest memory involves him burning down his home, and he had even strangled a stray cat to death to spite his father. Being raised in Jim-Crow south, Wright could also sense the ever- present violent tension which existed between blacks and whites. As a young boy he is trained to stone white children if they wandered near, and the white children would do the same if black children wandered near them. Wright was raised knowing nothing beyond suffering. It was the
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Mull 2 bare truth of his life. It was reading and writing which not only allowed Wright to escape the pain of everyday life, but at the same time to revel in it and dive headfirst into it to dig out some ounce of meaning or purpose. After reading H. L. Mencken's A Book of Prefaces, Wright experiences some form of a mental baptism. He finishes the book “with the conviction that [he] had somehow overlooked something terribly important in life.” Wright discovers “new ways of looking and seeing” and
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ESSSSSAAAAY - Mull 1 Jason Mull 12-05-08 English 31AC...

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