What Are the Key Moments in the Book, "Black Boy"?


Quick Answer

One key moment in Richard Wright's book, "Black Boy," is when the 4-year-old main character, Richard, accidentally burns down his family's home. A few years later, due to poverty and sickness, Richard's mother is forced to temporarily place her sons in an orphanage.

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Full Answer

Richard's life improves when his mom moves them in with her sister, Maggie. Maggie's husband Hoskins is a successful saloon owner and the family can finally afford to eat regularly. That changes when local white men kill Hoskins and threaten the rest of his family. When Maggie leaves Ella alone to support her two sons, but due to the stress, Ella has a stroke and the family has to move in with Richard's grandmother.

Richard discovers a love for reading and writing and becomes the valedictorian in school. He obtains a job in an optical shop but is run off by white employees. Richard becomes determined to move to the North to escape Southern discrimination. Once in Chicago, Richard begins to be interested in Communism and become a writer for the Communist Party. He finds a job with the Federal Writers' Project.

His time at his job reveals that the Communist Party is not what he thought it was supposed to be. His criticism of the the party make him a pariah and he is eventually attacked by other members during a May Day parade. Richard leaves the party but decides that writing is the key to his future and continues to pursue it as a career.

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