I need help with my project about Richard Wright.

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Without any specifics here, it is difficult to know which direction you may wish to take in your project on Richard Wright. However, if yours is an examination into Wright's life, it will well serve you to read his autobiographical work, Black Boy--a story of his early life in the South, his struggles and his dreams--and to write a critique of this work and, perhaps, others such as Native Son, which became the first book written by an African-American that was chosen for the Book-of-the-Month Club.

Certainly, Wright overcame many handicaps: poverty, racial prejudice, inadequate education, and a disrupted family life which made him an outsider among his own relatives. After ninth grade, Wright moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where he began to pursue his dream of becoming a writer. In the second part of Black Boy, Wright is lured by the false premises of equality that Communism makes and joins the Party in Chicago, hoping to be able to write and express his ideas. However, when the Party exploits him and does not allow his free expression. Wright quits the Party. Disillusioned with the North, which symbolized for the youth all that he had "not felt or seen," Wright narrates in Black Boy that it really "had no relation to what actually existed."

One approach to writing about Richard Wright is to examine his fierce sense of his own individuality. In an excerpt from his autobiographical Black Boy, Wright narrates of his conflicts with society,

Had I been conscious of the full extent to which I was pushing against the environment, I would have been frightened altogether out of my attempts at writing.

But, in truth, Wright was rarely frightened by conflict as his personal history evinces. While the veracity of every event chronicled in Black Boy is questionable, the emotional truth is certainly there.

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tyler-k's profile pic

tyler-k | Student, Grade 12 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

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Richard Nathaniel Wright was born in Mississippi on September 4, 1908. His mother was a school teacher, but his father was illiterate. He was intrigued by the work of H. L. Mencken, and ended up writing a few stories and plays for the Federal Negro Theater in Chicago. He wrote popular books with African American leads, and was a big inspiration. 

Throughout his life, he traveled to many places, including Africa, Asia, and France, which influenced his writing greatly. His work has recently become more recognized and appreciated. 

"Richard Wright was also among the first African American writers to achieve literary fame and fortune, but his reputation has less to do with the color of his skin than with the superb quality of his work."

He has two autobiographies, one of which, Black Boy, was about his childhood. The other, published after is death, is called American Hunger, and is centered around his experience as a part of the Communist party. Both of these books could be of grey help to you when doing your project.

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