Until Wright's Native Son, most black fiction was pretty much limited to historical, period pieces. Whether it belonged to the plantation tradition or the Harlem school of literature, most of it could be classed as only historically interesting. A primary reason for this is that the audience those writers addressed themselves to was middle class and "liberated" from the struggles of the poor. Since such an audience asks to read about itself, and since its spokesmen have to be "liberated" too, the writing of that time was largely restricted to a facade, a falsification of black life. There are, of course, notable exceptions to this rule Jean Toomer, Zora Neale Hurston, and Langston Hughes but as a rule, middle-class writing, black and white, was designed to entertain, not to disturb, its middle-class reader. Therefore, when Richard leaves the South in Black Boy, it marks a turning point not only in his own life, but in the history of black literature.
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As Richard grows up, he notices bits and pieces of the unjust treatment blacks are given, eventually having to conform to this culture. Richard never really understands how and why his character is unacceptable, but unwillingly forces himself to change his identity to someone whites expect him to be for the sake of surviving. Even though Richard vaguely knew of the racial tension going on in the world, he never actually processed what that meant for him and how it will affect his life and future. Your way of doing things is all right among our people, but not for white people.
Though many themes from the story can be tied to modern culture, perhaps the most prominent is the theme of a quest for truth. Black Boy3 Most young people have a dream of what they want to become. In the book, Black Boy, Richard, the main character, also had a dream, even though he lived in the South with strong white discrimination, pressure and a bad relationship with his relatives. Usually, when.
In the book Black Boy, Richard Wright faces violence almost on an everyday basis. Whether it was from the Whites, bullies trying to steal his money, or even his parents, violence was there. However the older and more educated Wright became the less he had to use violence and the more writing became, for him, a powerful tool.