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Professor West

April 14th,2019


African American Literature

Racism: “Black Boy,” by Richard Wright

These are a set of literature that is produced in the United States by authors of African descent (Alim). These literatures are very significant in that they depict various important themes that are important in the modern day world.

In this proposal, I am going to discuss an article on Police brutality, and the increase of crime in urban areas by Richard Wright, Black Boy.

Essay Opening

In America today, urban crimes have been a major issue. Additionally, there has been a decrease in the murder rates in the past years but the murder rates for young males, particularly young black males has been on the increase. Also, it can be noted that the murder victimization rates of the black community ages 15 to 24 has increased substantially.

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Background Information

In the literature on Police brutality, and the increase of crime in urban areas by Richard Wright, Black Boy, was published in 1945 by Richard which contained two halves of his childhood and on the American Hunger. His literature works on the black by significant in that it tends to describe the milestone in American literature and culture. The book described the African American experience which emerged at a time when the majority white voice dominated the landscape (Davis and Wright).

In the literature book by Richard Wright, a theme of racism is depicted when Wright seeks to achieve his dreams by moving north. It is found out that Wright steals and lies until he gets the money required for a ticket to Memphis.

“I was not living the south to forget the south, but so that someday I might understand I,” this line from the book, Black Boy, expresses the theme of racism in that author wanted to start a new life by moving to another location away from where he was a subject to racial discrimination. However, his dreams of escaping racism by moving north hit rock bottom as he encounters the same oppressions and prejudices in Memphis. He, therefore, resorts to move towards Chicago. Also, Wright finds it hard to get quick friends at Chicago especially among its black members in a party that he attended.

Wright found out that is timid about changing just like the whites he left behind at the south. He says in his book that he knew he was living in a country where aspirations of black people were limited and marked off.  But the color of a Negro’s skin makes him easily recognizable, makes him suspect, converts him into a defenseless target,” this quote from the book, Black Boy, Richard Wright is accused of trying to lead others in the wrong path, and he is branded as the enemy of communism. He is denied of various jobs and gatherings, but Wright believes in unity and tolerance. Therefore, Wright had to go somewhere to redeem him being alive.

Additionally, the genre used in this literature by Richard is a longstanding controversy due to the equivocation. In his book, black boy, Wright neither confirmed nor did he deny that the book was fictional or entirely an autobiography. The genre is a controversy of ambiguity as Wright does not include details of his family’s background in qualifying the book as autobiographical


Richard Wright in his book, Black Boy, uses language as a source to convey his ideas and facts. Wright uses rhetorical techniques to convey his opinions since the novel challenges and defends the claim that language can be used to represent a person.

For instance, Wright uses figures of speech to convey his ideas. For example, when he compared the rustling of the green leaves with the sound of rain on pages 18-19, this was an enticing sensory statement.  Richard Wright’s ability to employ rhetorical techniques in his novel defines that language reflects the person speaking or writing.


Works Cited

Alim, H. Samy. :“:African American English: A Linguistic Introduction.” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 2006, doi:10.1525/jlin.2006.16.1.135.

Davis, Arthur P., and Richard Wright. “Black Boy.” The Journal of Negro Education, 2006, doi:10.2307/2966030.

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