Black Boy

Growing up as a Negro in the South in the early 1900?s is not that easy, for some people tend to suffer different forms of oppression. In this case, it happens in the autobiography called Black Boy written by Richard Wright. The novel is set in the early part of the 1900?s, somewhere in deep Jim Crow South. Richard Wright, who is obviously the main character, is also the protagonist. The antagonist is no one person in particular, for it takes many different forms called "oppression" in general. The main character over comes this "oppression" by rebelling against the common roles of the black, Jim Crow society. Richard Wright?s character was affected in early childhood by the effects of societal oppression, but he became a great American author despite these negative factors in his life. Today everyone encounters some form of oppression. One of the forms Richard is encountering is called societal oppression. As an example, after Richard sees a "black" boy whipped by a "white" man, he asks his mother why did the incident happen. His mother says, " ?The "white" man did not whip the "black" boy?He beat the "black" boy, ? "(31). This quote is showing racism, which is one way of society keeping Richard Wright, and all other blacks in the South down. Another example is when is at the rail road station with his mother, and as they are waiting for the train, he sees something he has never seen, "?for the first time I noticed that there were two lines of people at the ticket window, a "white" line and a "black" line," (55). This excerpt is demonstrating how this scene of Jim Crow laws is keeping a certain group of people apart, which is also another form of societal oppression. Societal oppression occurs again when Richard is "hanging" out with his friends, and their conversation with each other leads on to the subject of war. One of his friends really get into the subject and says, " ?Yeah, they send you to war, make you lick them Germans, teach you how to fight and when you come back they scared of you,? "(90). This quote means that the "white" people put the "black" people on the front line to defend our country, and when they come back, they can not accept them, therefore they oppress them in different ways, which is societal oppression. The last example happens when Richard wants to borrow a library card, and so he thinks about asking his boss. After thinking about it for a while, he knew he could not ask him, for he knows the boss is a Caucasian Baptist, and Richard thinks that he would not be able to accept the fact of a "black" boy, such as Richard, would want to read and cultivate his intelligence. This would be considered societal oppression, for he knows his boss does not want Richard to be enlightened with books, in turn keeping Richard away from the light of knowledge. These are examples of societal oppression that Richard Wright overcomes and rises to the top on his own. Internalized oppression is a hard thing to overcome. One of the ways Richard Wright is confronted with internalized oppression is when he sees a "black" boy being beaten by a "white" man, so he automatically thinks that the "white" man is the boys father. "?Did not all fathers, like my father, have the right to beat their children? A paternal right was the only right, to my understanding?" (31). This excerpt is showing internalized oppression, for he thinks it is okay for a parent to abuse their child, in turn having the child think that beating a child is okay, and only a parent can do the beating, which is completely wrong. Another case of internalized oppression occurs when Richard says a bad word, and then his Aunt Jody lectures him by saying, " ?Richard, you are a very bad, bad boy,? "(108). Later in the passage, he also says that he does not care that he is a "bad boy." That states that Richard believes that he is a bad person, which means he is experiencing internalized oppression. Later in the novel, after Richard read some books, he then wants to use the words he has learned as weapons, but he could not, because by him using the