Human beings are desirous creatures by nature

High School ・Philosophy ・MLA

Human beings are, by nature, desirous animals. There are normal or traditional needs for human beings, such as food and water, and there are those special to the person, such as love, reverence and education. Later, the appetite grows into hunger if there are barriers that hinder a person from achieving it. Unfortunately, throughout history, dominant forces refuse minorities their preferences and instead push them to adhere to common ideas and way of life. In Black Child, Richard Wright expresses his urge to be literate. As a result, he led his life's encounters of non-compliance and, as a result, developed individualistic impulses. Throughout his autobiographical narration, Richard Wright demonstrates to his audience, the readers, the hunger he had for literature and education. His environment, however, suppressed his desire from his family, his workplace, and the society at large. Wright’s account documents his trials and tribulations as he fought prejudice from his family and the white supremacists. Wright saw knowledge as a means of freedom from the oppression that was going around him. Wright seemed to observe the philosophical teachings of Renee Descartes “I think. Therefore, I am,” and he demonstrates this belief throughout his autobiography. Wright always questions everything and portrays himself as a renegade to the societal norms.


For instance, at the tender age of four years old wright started to show individualistic tendencies and non-conformity towards the standard practices of the family and the society. Wright was always inquisitive and wanted the freedom to explore and do things. He still questioned orders and abhorred confinement. Before the fire broke out, that consumed their house; Wright indicates that he had been scolded the whole morning by his mother to keep still and ensure that he made no noise. Wright knew if there were noise he would be punished but that did not deter him from shouting with excitement when a bird flew by their window. The author saw conformity to rules and regulations of the house as confinement. Although he sat inside the house as instructed by his mother, Wright was unsettled and wished he could play outside. Wright always wanted to know what reaction would follow an action. As he sat with his brother playing, he wondered what would happen if he threw something on the fire and watch it burn. Wright came up with an interesting idea to throw broom straws at the burning coal and watch as they smoke. As the game was getting more fun, he became curious to find out how the curtains would look like if he placed flames of fire beneath them. His unconformity usually bred him trouble, but he could not help it. His inquisitive nature and quest for knowledge of what would happen caused his house to go up in flames. Wright received a thorough beating from his mother until he became unconscious. However, instead of the punishment stopping his inquisitive nature, instead, he became even more rebellious to what the society considered normal.

In another instance, wrights quests for knowledge causes him trouble with the community. The African American population disregarded literature and considered it to be a white thing. However, Wright and his nonconformity tendencies wanted to pursue the art. At one time when Wright's mother was reading him a novel, the grandmother stopped her claiming that that was the devil's work and that she would not allow that in her house. Wright rebelled against his grandmother as usual and began reading even more literature. Contrary to the community’s belief that writing is a preserve of the whites Wright excelled in this sector. As he continued with his school, Wright got involved in a magazine. For once in his life, he felt contented and even writes an article. Instead of is black community celebrating his accomplishments, they became bewildered. He does exceptionally well in his studies, and as a result, he received a request to prepare a valedictorian speech. However, his teacher makes the statement instead for him to read. Wright continues his nonconformity as he refuses to read the written report and reads his. The community, family, and friends instead form a circle of insecurity around him. He learns of whites who killed blacks who stepped out of line to get rich or acquire knowledge. He becomes ostracized by people close to him and is hurt even more when he hears his uncle warning his cousin to stay away from him and realizes that he needs to leave home immediately to the north. Wrights curiosity and quest for knowledge was his greatest misgivings in the community.

Also, wright’s curious nature led him to be rebellious against the grandmother and his aunt, Addie. He refused to be docile like any other teenager and avoided punishment and sometimes could fight back when he could. Richard refused to conform to the religion that his grandmother and Aunt Addie professed and at one time when they were arguing about religion, he came up with a comment that annoyed his grandmother. As the grandmother stood to give him a beating, he ducked leaving her to go plunging head first to the steps. The scene did not go well with his aunt Addie accusing him of trying to kill her mother. His aunt threatened to deal with him that night. Wright decided to defend himself contrary to what other children his age would do. He rushed to the kitchen grabbed a knife and uttered,” If you touch me, I’ll cut you so help me.” Wright portrays himself as a non-conformist to all, the social and religious rules that the community expected of him. It was conventional expectations that children should not talk back to grown-ups and accept punishments humbly. Though Wright later got baptized as a Protestant, he did so not because he approved Christianity but to please his mother and friends also so that he could secure a job. He did not appreciate Christianity however he liked the hymns as they inspired his creativity that one day he would be able to write poems. As Wright tried to survive in the environment, he always ensured that was some individuality in his thinking and way of doing things.


The most significant obstacle to human being, creativity, innovation and freedom is conformity. People who follow the social norms and way of approaching issues never device new ways of solving a problem. Also, curiosity and being inquisitive is what leads to discoveries. Isaac Newton discovered the law of gravity when he decided to question why an apple did not fall up the tree instead it came down. Likewise, human beings should be able to examine things to quench our thirst for knowledge. In Black Boy, the black community conformed to how the white supremacists dictated for them without question. That was why it was normal for blacks to work for the whites, be beaten, and be touched inappropriately by the whites and for them to comply without asking questions. Conformity portrayed blacks as cowards and illiterates. The African American community denied themselves their freedom by complying with the rules and regulations set out by the whites.

The white community, on the other hand, seemed to know the power conformity had over their black subjects. For instance, they came up with religious beliefs such as Christianity and imposed it on the blacks. Christianity came along with set virtues such as evil and good that the society had to conform. Nonconformity would lead to labeling of an individual as bad. Also, it had other repercussions such as unemployment. Knowledge is key to gaining independence. The white community understood that literacy would prompt the minds of the African Americans, to begin questioning their mistreatment. Consequently, they killed individuals and led the black population to isolate individuals who pursued education. They intimidated blacks into being comfortable as slaves. Accordingly, they made the black community to believe that literature was a preserve for the whites. Therefore, they always managed to subdue their subjects into remain being their slaves out of their willingness. Individuals such as Wright realized the importance of knowledge and the ability to express oneself. Therefore they traveled to the north where the environment was more accommodative of their desires.

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