Hunger in Richard Wright’s Black Boy Essay example

Hunger in Black Boy In the troubled world in which we live in, it is almost impossible not to find someone who is experiencing hunger in any one of its forms. Whether it is for food, for knowledge, or for love, hunger is everywhere and it mercilessly attacks anyone, young or old, black or white. In Richard Wright’s autobiography, Black Boy, Wright suffers hunger for love, hunger for knowledge, and hunger for what he believes is right.

A constant need for love and care develops in Richard when he is young. One of the first major events that occur to Richard during his autobiography is the abandonment by his father. As soon as his father leaves him and his mother, Richard begins to be deprived of the love he needs most not only from his father, but also from his relatives, which is evident as he begins to move in with some of them. The only real love and care he receives comes from his mother who stays with him and tries to care for him as much as possible. When he is left at an Orphan Home by his mother while she is working to support her kids, she is allowed to see her children only a minimum of times and when she does come to see him, he says, “I begged my mother to take me away […] she left and my heart sank” (29). By this quote, Richard shows he definitely needs love and attention from the only source he has of it left: his mother. This is especially obvious because he is being deprived of this love so he does not take it for granted like most other people do, and when he gets some, he appreciates and values it more. Richard’s possession of love is especially evident when he attends church with his mother. The preacher begins to persuade the mothers in the crowd to take their children into …

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…s for him by driving him to work (Proverbs 16:26), Richard’s hunger drives him to continue “laboring” to reach his dreams.

Works Cited and Consulted:

Appiah, K. A. and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., eds. Richard Wright: Critical Perspectives Past and Present. New York: Amistad Press, 1993.

Bloom, Harold, ed. Modern Critical Interpretations. New York: Chelsea, 1988.

Bone, Robert. “Richard Wright.” Scribner’s American Writers: A Collection of Literary Biographies. Vol. 4. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1974.

McCall, Dan. “Wright’s American Hunger.” Appiah 259-268.

Skerrett, Joseph T., Jr. “Wright and the Making of Black Boy.” in Richard Wright’s Black Boy: Modern Critical Interpretations. New York: Chelsea House, 1988.

Wright, Richard. Black Boy. Ed. Ellen Wright. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 1993.


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