Black Boy

The Lessons of Loneliness and Isolation in 'Black Boy' 11th Grade

There is an incomprehensible secret embodied in the highly intimate affair of someone else’s emotions. Even when the thoughts of others come fully into the orbit of one’s concern, they are often difficult to dissect and subsequently understand. This is true of all emotions, but notably that of loneliness. Usually characterized by the depressing feeling of being alone when one is destitute of companionship or affection, loneliness is one of the many psychological symptoms of exclusion. This phenomenon is brought to light in Richard Wright’s autobiographical novel Black Boy. As Wright grows older, his constant exclusion from society informs his development as a character and further informs the person that he is to become, by virtue of the light he shines on his isolation from his family, the White world, and African American society. In doing so, Wright teaches his readers about the emotional repercussions of isolation.

From the onset of the novel, Wright deliniates himself as an outcast from his family. The first way in which this is seen is when as a young child, he has hallucinations that his family does not take seriously. In the middle of the night, Wright would find himself “Shaking with terror because no one saw them but...

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