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Free Study Guide-Black Boy by Richard Wright-Free Online Book Notes
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Richard takes up a job in a White womanís house but quits the job soon after, when the woman hurts his ego by looking down upon his aspirations. So, he takes up another job in a house where he is asked to milk the cow, collect the eggs and clean the house every morning and evening. Here, he gets to eat good meals, though the job tires him so much that he is unable to concentrate on his lessons. At home, his motherís condition improves. Mrs. Wright becomes a member of the Methodist church and asks Richard to attend its meetings with her. One day, during the meeting in the church, the preacher lures the mothers to persuade their sons to get baptized. Mrs. Wright requests Richard to accept the verdict of the priest. Richard gives in to please his mother. However, baptism brings no change in him. Mrs. Wright suffers another paralytic stroke.

To ease the financial burden, granny calls Uncle Tom to share the house with them. Uncle Tom and his wife make their presence felt and disturb the peaceful atmosphere of the house. One day, early in the morning, Uncle wakes up Richard to inquire about the time. Half asleep, Richard gives an approximate time. Uncle Tom gets offended by this casual remark and decides to whip the boy. Richard is revolted by his attitude and resolves not to get intimidated by his threats. Thus, as Uncle lifts the whip to give him a thrashing, Richard threatens his uncle with a razor blade. Uncle not only gets frightened but also feels insulted. He warns Richard of adverse consequences and leaves the scene.


Richardís sensitive nature rebels against the discrimination of the White people against the blacks. He accepts a job in a White womanís house because he is assured of a decent salary and meals. However, when he is given stale food, he refuses to eat it. Thus slighted, the woman questions him about his education and goal in life. When Richard mentions that he wishes to become a writer, she insults him by telling that he would never succeed in his mission. Not only is Richardís pride wounded, but also his identity as a Negro is threatened. He decides to quit the job. In his second work place, he is happy with the work and the food given to him, but is disgusted by the behavior of the inmates towards each other. The members of the house keep cursing one another and exude an atmosphere of bitterness. The tension in the house affects Richard. He is unable to concentrate on his studies. Richardís sensitive nature stops him from dissociating himself from his surroundings.

Religion once again comes between Richard and his conscience. This time it is not granny or Aunt Addie, who force him to follow the path of Godliness, it is his own mother who persuades him to attend the Sunday school of the Methodist church. During one such meeting, the honeyed words of the preacher trap her and she gets Richard baptized. Thus, Richard does something that is hateful to him.

The racist world and religion are not his only enemies. His own relatives become his antagonists. Granny and Aunt Addie force religion down Richardís throat and call him a sinner, when he fails to respond to their call. Uncle Tom exerts his authority over Richard and falsely accuses him of bad behavior. Uncle Tom even tries to whip him, as Richard rebels against his authoritarianism. Richard challenges him, by threatening to cut him off with a razor blade. Uncle Tom gets frightened. However, instead of feeling apologetic for his behavior, he warns the boy and scares him with the wrath of God. Richard is thus faced with both human and moral hurdles, before he can establish his identity in the world.

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