Black Boy, Richard Wrights autobiography, covers his childhood and early adulthood. It opens with four-year-old Richards rebellion against authority. At the time, Richard was restless and resentful of his mothers demand of silence. Richard accidentally burned down his grandparents house in his attempt to find something to occupy his time. After his mother determined that he was unharmed, she beat him so badly he lost consciousness.
When Richard and his brother were very young, Nathan Wright, their father, abandoned the family, plunging them into poverty. Richards constant hunger made him extremely bitter toward his absent father. Over the next few years, Ella, Richards mother, would try very hard to feed, clothe, and shelter her children. Her long hours of work often meant leaving her children with little supervision. When Richard was six years old, he began begging drinks in a nearby saloon where the customers plied him with nickels if he would repeat various curse words and offensive phrases. When beatings did little in breaking her sons growing obsession with alcohol, Ella got the babysitting services of an older black woman in the neighborhood.
Ella moved in with her sister, Maggie, and Maggies husband, Silas Hoskins. Hoskins was the
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