Richard is the protagonist of the story—he is, the "black boy." He tells his own story as if he is a victim of his surroundings, almost as if he is an existentialist given limited choice in every circumstance. There is really only one thing he is ever sure of throughout the novel and which drives him to leave the South and tell his story. That one thing is a conception of himself as a person who individually can conceive of the world. In addition to this, he knows that his awareness of having this conception of himself in the world marks him out as different. His certainty of this...
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