How did Richard Wright receive most of the knowledge and education throughout his life?

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linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Richard Wright's formal education was brief and inconsistent. His parents were poor sharecroppers in the rural south. There was little money or time for school. When he was 6, his father abandoned the family, leaving Wright's mother to care for two small boys. Although she was a teacher, Wright's mother was unable to find a teaching job and supported her family by working as a maid and cook. When Wright was 7, his mother became ill and was unable to care for him and his brother; the two boys were sent to an orphanage.

After leaving the orphanage, Wright was able to attend school for a while, but eventually he had to leave school in order to work and support his mother. Ironically, it was his mother's deteriorating health and his inability to care for her alone that allowed Wright to settle down and finally get a consistent education. He excelled in elementary school and graduated junior high as valedictorian of his class.

However, Wright did not go on beyond 9th grade education. He was a gifted learner who excelled in his studies, but most of his learning came from his hard upbringing--the so-called school of hard knocks.

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