What is the main idea of the Richard Wright's "Black Boy"?

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The main idea of the book is the way racism degrades one's life by forcing one into a role rather than allowing them to express their individuality. In a system pervaded by racism, Wright is not a boy but a black boy, and this is the role he must play....

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The main idea of the book is the way racism degrades one's life by forcing one into a role rather than allowing them to express their individuality. In a system pervaded by racism, Wright is not a boy but a black boy, and this is the role he must play. He cannot be himself as an individual but is rather seen only an extension of his skin color. When growing up, he has a compelling interest in literature and a skeptical mind that questions what is around him. However, both the black and white worlds around him in the South do not nurture his interests or embrace his viewpoints. For example, Wright's grandmother wants him to be an observant member of the church, and the white world keeps his family in a position of poverty so that he can not satisfy his hunger—either for food or for knowledge. It is not until he has broken free of the South that he can find the life that he wants. While the South has formed him, he has to escape it to be an individual rather than simply a black boy.

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Richard Wright’s Black Boy touches on a number of themes, all of which relate to the stifling effects of racism on the lives of African Americans growing up in the South. The idea that Richard is always hungry has metaphorical as well as literal significance—Richard hungered to feed his mind as well as his body. As a black boy growing up in the south, he was denied the educational opportunities of whites and he was undervalued for his intelligence and for his need to indulge his creative talents and leave something of significance in the world. He hungered for self-expression.

Wright shows the devastating effects of racism not only on the relationships between whites and blacks but on the relationships among blacks in their own communities, and Richard meet with resistance from his own people. As Richard struggles against oppression, Wright conveys the idea that racism is institutionalized in society and so pervasive in the attitudes of the people that has become internalized in southern culture and inseparable from it.

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"Black Boy" was first published in 1945. It is Richard Wright's autobiography. In it, he shows how he was able to break away from the system of racial segregation that existed at that time. One of the things Wright focuses on is his discovery of literature and his ability to use language to cope with the inequities of Black life in 1940's America. One of the main ideas of the book is his struggle and ultimate victory learning to express himself as a writer.

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