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Life and times of American author, novelist Richard Wright

The life and times of American author, novelist Richard Wright


Richard Wright had to face many challenges in his life that ultimately made him the man that he turned out to be. From his family struggles and his unending hunger to his troubles with racism and bigotry, Richard had to face a whole lot of adversity. Part of his struggle with society, beyond the obviousness of racism, was that he often times found himself having trouble communicating with people. He simply couldn’t understand why these people around him, both white and black, acted the way in which they did. Did skin color warrant such segregation and hate? Because of his thirst for knowledge, knowledge of other people, Richard often had to defend himself and his pride. Richard holds pride, knowledge, and the quest for equality in very high regards, because these beliefs shape the way in which he interacts with the people he meets in his life, and causes him to wonder what other people, both black and white, are thinking, feeling, and believing. It is these beliefs that form the foundation of his life.


To Richard Wright, there is nothing more basic and essential to man than pride. Without it, a man is nothing: nothing to himself and nothing to society. Even at an early age, Richard could appreciate the value of pride. The scene where Richard and his mother are at their father’s house seeking money to leave for Arkansas is a perfect example of Richard holding on to his pride. Neither of them wants to be here, but they are desperate and are acting out of will for the moment. Richard’s father says to him, “I ain’t got nothing…Here Richard…don’t be a fool, take the nickel.” Richard’s father is being a jerk, offering Richard a nickel, knowing full well that Richard is going hungry. He is taunting his own son. He sarcastically asks if Richard wants to live with him, to which Richard replies, “I may be hungry now, but I won’t stay with you.” Even when offered to live with his father, where he will have plenty to eat, he refuses to live with this man; this cowardly man who abandoned him. He has enough pride in himself and his mother to be able to rise above his father’s level of...

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