Black Boy

Why did Addie beat Richard and what was his reaction?

chapter 3-4

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One afternoon, Aunt Addie reproaches Richard for eating in school, pointing at walnut crumbs on the floor under his desk. Knowing that it was the boy in front of him who had been eating walnuts, Richard denies the accusation. In doing so, he accidentally calls her "Aunt Addie" instead of "Miss Wilson." Richard does not want to "tattle," and withstands Aunt Addie's lashings, realizing that her anger storms more from her own insecurity rather than his wrongdoing. At home, Aunt Addie tries to beat Richard again, but he fights back and grabs a kitchen knife to use for defense.