Black Boy Symbol: Hunger

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Hunger In the autobiography Black Boy by Richard Wright, there is struggle, disappointment, and triumph. One of the major reoccurring symbols in this outstanding novel is hunger, in many different ways. Hunger, for one, is used in the literal meaning, for food, hunger is also used for money, and most of all hunger is used for knowledge. Richard had a rocky childhood. His family sometimes did not even have enough for him to eat. Richard was hungry and there was nothing that could have been done about it in his mother’s eyes. At one point, Richard’s mother had to send him to an orphanage because she did not have enough money to feed him. “Once again I knew hunger, biting hunger, hunger that made my body aimlessly restless, hunger that kept me on edge, that made my temper flare, hunger that made me hate leap out of my heart like the dart of a serpent’s tongue, hunger that created in me odd cravings.” (103) Richard knew how hunger felt, and he did not like it. “My life now depended upon my finding work, and I was so anxious that I accepted the first offer, a job as a porter in a clothing store selling cheap goods to Negroes on credit.” (179) Another evident hunger in Richard was his hunger for money. Without his income, his family could often not make the rent and they would have to move. This put enormous amounts of pressure on Richard to be able to get enough money for the rent. “’I’ve no money. I’m going to work.’”(176) In this quote, Richard shows how desperate yet determined he is for money to help his family and survive. Perhaps the biggest hunger that Richard has is his hunger for knowledge. “Now it surged up again and I hungered for books, new ways for looking and seeing…. I went to work, but the mood of the book would not die; it lingered, coloring everything I saw, heard, did.” (249) Books were knowledge for Richard and he could not forget them or stop
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