Steve Chisnell's Reviews > Black Boy

Black Boy by Richard Wright
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's review
May 12, 2012

really liked it

I just re-read this after many years, and with the necessary addition of Part Two (my school edition was only Part One as originally published). Outside of re-experiencing Wright's prose and fine crafting with adult eyes--a pleasure--I was struck by two things. First, a seemingly sudden and relatively unremarked change from the stubborn naive boy to the stubborn but educated and logical man. While still naive to the way of politics in Chicago, the older Wright has--obviously through a lengthy acquaintance with reading everything he might find--found himself in possession of eloquence and rational thinking: a philosophical mind. What struck me is how unremarkable that profound change is on his text, particularly in its details of influential books, etc. The second point of interest for me is how closely his life parallels Ellison's Invisible Man, simple transplanting the Communists to New York. Of course, Ellison and Wright shared an aspiration to-and later a betrayal by--the Communist Party around the same time, and their relationship and bitterness make for fascinating portrayals in Wright's non-fiction and Ellison's fiction.

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