This becomes the model for Richard's relationships with other men throughout the book. He will have no patience with their cowardice and will not fear humiliating them with his own masculinity. He is disgusted by males who allow themselves to be castrated by white society. His father is by no means the only one.His mother's method of punishing him with God and a beating are also clues to Richard's later behavior. The God she chastises him with is a merciless oppressor a kind of supernatural manifestation of white society. He has strict codes of conduct, demands instant obedience, and, when defied, gives instant punishment. Richard's mother, here and elsewhere, uses God as another, more awesome term for white people in order to impress on her son the necessity to "stay in his place." God becomes many things; to whatever Richard's mother is unable to cope with or explain in
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