Hunger is personified in Wright's autobiography. Personification is when an inanimate object takes on human characteristics. At nightRichard sayshunger "stoleupon me" and "I began to wake up at night to find hunger standing at my bedside staring at me gauntly." Later he describes hunger as a "hostile stranger" that made him beg.
When Richard was a little boy his father left the family. It was the first time when he was hungry that he had a "deep biological bitterness." This in turn affects the relationship with his mother because she had to now provide food and money for the family. As a single mother she taught Richard how to stand up and fight for himself. Although today her actions would seem harsh.