Thursday, February 3, 2011
"It's time to get beat"
Richard Wright has countless issues with "hunger" in his autobiography, Black Boy. His childhood family is incredibly dysfunctional and every adult he meets he gets abused by. Richard develops a hunger for attention which stems from his experiences of being mistreated and disregarded. If he asks a question, he will get shot down by his mother and eventually beat which becomes a commonplace happening in his day because of his countless "transgressions." If he reaches out to someone, as he did with the teacher, Ella, he will be called a devil worshiper by his grandmother and the beatings will commence. Since Wright has no social outlet within his family who all but dismiss him with threats of a whipping, young Richard attempts to connect to with total strangers at the local bar. There he is the center of attention; drinks are bought for him, jokes are told to him and he is carted around the room in his innocent drunkard state. However, after his stint as the bar messenger, he is back in the same predicament. In the initial chapters of the book, Richard Wright focuses on his mother's outward relationship with him and this section is riddled with hostility. He disobeys his superiors because they anger him with their hurtful actions such as when Richard killed the kitten after his father scolded him. He misbehaved just to spite them because they didn't provide the attention he needed. A normal person cannot live a life of isolation and neglect before turning bitter and deranged. It traumatizes and disables trust to exist in that person. Wright becomes mentally scarred from the lack of attention and retreats to his thoughts and to his misbehavior.