Eventually he is able to return to public schooling where his interest and

Eventually he is able to return to public schooling

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hunger for knowledge, leaving him detached and unmotivated. Eventually, he is able to return to public schooling, where his interest and drive help him excel, but his family never supports this sentiment and makes it difficult for him to maintain his studies. During the last of his formal education, things are so strict at home that Wright skips meals in order to stay away for longer hours. With regards to this, Wright states: To starve in order to learn about my environment was irrational, but so were my hungers (p.127). He is never able to receive a consistent formal education, and the formal education he does receive is sub-standard and rife with contention. In spite of this, Wright always continues to learn, and his thirst for knowledge continues to grow. Wright s education does not end when he graduates from school. After fleeing to Memphis in order to escape the oppressive environment in Jackson, Wright begins to read anything he can obtain. At one point, he meets a sympathetic Jewish man who lends him his library card, and Wright is able to feed his hunger. These books open up his world, and change him forever. Wright says, In buoying me up, reading also cast
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90 me down, made me see what was possible, what I had missed (p.251). His new understanding of the world intensifies his desire for a better life, and forces him to question himself. However this questioning never stops his hunger for further knowledge. Let us examine the sociological background of the characters one by one. 1. Richard Wright Richard Wright is the protagonist, narrator and author of the autobiographical novel, Black Boy . As a young child, Richard is ignorant of the strain between blacks and whites. His mother, the only supporter of the family, is abandoned by his father. As a result, Richard had to live the life of poverty. Nevertheless, he becomes the victim of his own hunger, both physically and intellectually. His ability to write and yearning for an education separate him from his friends and Richard senses isolation from the entire black community. Maturing into an adult, Richard becomes aware of the social situation in the South and realizes that he must leave the South to achieve his goal of becoming a writer. He leaves for Chicago and becomes an active member in the Communist Party, where he learns that ignorance is not limited to race. In the end, Richard learns to rely on the power of the written word. Richard s most important personality trait is his strong belief in his own potentials and abilities. This belief often presents him as obstinate and impolite person. Therefore, he puts himself in conflict with his family and with those who expect him to accept his degraded position in society. He finds himself constantly punished for his nonconformity with varying degrees of physical violence and emotional isolation.
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