Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Richard Wright, the narrator of the autobiography and the black boy who is the subject of the story. Richard begins his narrative when he is four years old, describing an incident in which he attempts to set his house on fire out of boredom and frustration with his restricted life within his family. He traces his life from that point on, describing numerous adventures and challenges that mark his journey to young adulthood. These challenges include physical ones, including the hunger that the poverty-stricken Wrights experience when Mr. Wright abandons his wife and two sons, and spiritual ones, including the search for himself within an environment that is racially charged and hostile to a young black boy growing up in America. Ultimately, Wright goes to Chicago, Illinois, where he joins the Communist Party before learning that his calling in life is to be a solitary individual, not a member of an organized group, and to be a writer whose weapons will be the words he uses.
Ella Wright, Richard’s mother, whose physical weakness makes it difficult for her to care for and even love her sons Richard and Leon. She moves her sons from place to place, temporarily housing them in an orphanage, as she tries to survive and provide for the boys, whom her husband abandoned when he left her and them for another woman.
Nathan Wright, Richard’s father, who...
(The entire section is 525 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Black Boy Characters. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!