Kristen's Reviews > Black Boy

Black Boy by Richard Wright
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Feb 28, 2008

really liked it
Read in March, 2008

I felt something shift in me as a reader as I neared the end of Wright’s autobiography. Where he began relating his experiences of, and delineating his theoretical disagreements with, the Communist party in Chicago, my experience of reading became less interactive, less organic, and to some degree, less interesting. I think I stopped making personal connections to the material. I was no longer reading to discover what feelings, ideas, or insights his story would incite in me. Instead, I began engaging with his words on an intellectual level, processing the points of his argument and accepting some and rejecting others. It occurred to me, that at this point in the book, his style changed, and this observation allowed me to ponder again something that Phillip had said about my first workshop submission—that my writing in that piece tended more to the sociological than to the literary. One of the ways I’ve come to understand that comment is through Virginia Woolf’s observation in A Room of One’s Own that “when a book lacks suggestive power, however hard it hits the surface of the mind it cannot penetrate within.” Some books simply educate, while others enlighten by allowing the reader’s experience to mix with those on the page. Or, some, like Wright’s, begin in a brilliant literary vein but veer off when the writer becomes too didactic.

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03/27/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Kristen Wright on writing: "My purpose was to capture a physical state or movement that carried a strong subjective impression, an accomplishment which seemed supremely worth struggling for. If I could fasten the mind of the reader upon words so firmly that he would forget words and be conscious only of his response, I felt I would be in sight of knowing how to write narrative. I strove to master words, to make them disappear, to make them important by making them new, to make them melt into a rising spiral of emotional stimuli, each greater than the other, each feeding and reinforcing the other, and all ending in an emotional climax that would drench the reader with a sense of a new world. That was the single aim of my world."


message 2: by Cpn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cpn I completely agree with you because I also stopped making connections of my life to his when he started talking more serious as he became an adult. I guess I feel that way because I haven't reached that age yet


Jessica Green black Boy did feel like two novels. I appreciated why Book of the Month Club would chose to publish Part One exclusively. However, I found the political aspects of Wright's life fascinating. He would continue to his death to found and to belong to organizations dedicated to the elevation of humanity, justice, and the arts and yet each would let him down.


message 4: by Abdullah (new)

Abdullah Hashmi Where can I find this book?


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