Black Boy

Genre and Style

The genre of Richard Wright’s Black Boy is a longstanding controversy due to the ambiguity. Black Boy follows Wright’s childhood with a degree of accuracy that suggests it exists as an autobiography, although Wright never confirmed nor denied whether the book was entirely autobiographical or fictitious.[5] None of Wright’s other books follow the truths of his life in the way Black Boy does.[5] The books apparent tendency to intermix fact and fiction is criticized because of the specific dialogue that suggests a degree of fiction.[5] Additionally, Wright omits certain details of his family's background that would typically be included in an autobiographical novel.[5] While Wright may have deviated from historical truths, the book is accurate in the sense that he rarely deviates from narrative truth in the candidness and rawness of his writing.[6]

The style in Black Boy is so highly regarded because of the frankness that defied social demands at the time of Black Boy’s publication.[7] Wright negates the racially based oppression he endured through his ability to read and write with eloquence and credibility as well as with his courage to speak back against the dominant norms of society that are holding him back.[6]


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