Critical Lens Essay: Black Boy
According to Richard Wright, “All literature is protest. You cannot name a single literary work that is not protest.” This means that literature is usually based on a reflection on society which is protest. Literature exposes the dark side of society. I agree with this quote because literature is one of the protruding ways to understand how one thinks about an idea. The author’s opinion is a protest against what other may believe. Coherently, in the bildungsroman Black boy by Richard Wright portrays how literature is protest.
In bildungsroman Black Boy by Richard Wright, Richard, the narrator, describes Mencken’s effectiveness as he uses phrases such as “he was using words as a weapon.” This phrase shows how powerful the new experience was for Richard. Richard pondered if he would be ever be able to create something so significant and powerful. Although the thought seemed frightening at first, Richard was able to fight using his words in the end. In addition, the language on the page is so full of disgust that Wright imagines Mencken “…raging demon, slashing with his pen, consumed with hate, denouncing everything American…” (248). This image gives convincing evidence that Mencken was extremely irate with his society and that he is using his works of literature to “fight” against it. His sword is the pen and his words are the blow. Those who are witness to this ‘duel’ are those who are affected by its cuts. Richard is appalled by the fact that one can use words as powerful “weapons” in literature. Richard imagined Mencken “fighting with words” and “using them [words] as one would use a club” (248). Mencken was clearly using words as weapons to express his hatred of society and using literature as protest.
Another example is when Richard has a conversation with the white men who work at his job before he leaves for Chicago. He says, “I wanted to tell him that I was going north precisely to change, but I did not. ‘I’ll be the...
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