Wright suffers from hunger his entire life not only for food but also for

Wright suffers from hunger his entire life not only

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life-long struggle with hunger. Wright suffers from hunger his entire life, not only for food but also for acceptance, love, and an understanding of the world around him; but most importantly, Wright possesses an insatiable hunger for knowledge. Wright s struggle with hungers started within his family. His family was never able to provide everything that a family is supposed to, such as love, security and acceptance. In fact, the majority of their interactions are the exact opposite of this. The adults in his family often argued with him, and prefer to have as little contact with him as possible. His struggles with his family are epitomized during his struggles with his Aunt Addie. As his schoolteacher, she is able to make doubly difficult for him, such as when she accuses him of leaving shells all over the floor in school. She punishes him at school, and then tries to punish him a second time at home when she finds out that he really did not leave the shells there but would not tell her who had. The altercation resulted in Aunt Addie refusing to speak to Wright, to which he responded: I was conscious that she had descended to my emotional level in order to rule me, and my respect for her sank (Wright, 110). Wright s opinion of Aunt Addie is reflective of his opinion of his entire family, which leads Wright feel as though he is an outsider in his own home. On the rare occasions that they are amicable with him, Wright cannot trust their motives, and it therefore pushes him further out of the family. This is the case when his family is attempting to save his soul. The entire
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89 family became kind and forgiving, but I knew the motives that prompted their change and it drove me an even greater emotional distance from them. (113). This emotional distance takes a toll on Wright; despite that distance, and despite the antagonistic and demoralizing experience Wright experiences in his family, he is able to maintain his hunger for a better life, one that he could better comprehend. His hunger for knowledge is immense, yet Wright is never really allotted the opportunity for a decent formal education. His instability at home forces him to miss many years of school, which he makes up for by ascertaining a different form of education on the streets. Living in such a hostile and misery filled world, it is no wonder that that the majority of Wright s education takes place in similar environments. There, he discovers a new language with more emphasis on cuss words and other profane language learns how to put on a mask of indifference, and how to fight. He is able to observe some of the ways of the world, and sometimes participate, all the while never fully understanding exactly why things are wrought with so much inequality. The street is not his only cruel classroom, and schools themselves often provide Wright with this cold dose of reality. One such environment is the religious school that Aunt Addie teaches at. Here, Wrights family problems clash with his hunger for knowledge, leaving him detached and unmotivated. Eventually, he is able
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