Black Boy Thematic Essay According to the great philosopher Aristotle, “Hubris is the great sin of unrestrained will and the tragic fall in…character”. As with any great hero, the flaw of hubris is a weakness which causes them much struggle and conflict and frequently leads to their downfall. In the novel Black Boy by Richard Wright, the main character Richard is a young black boy growing up in the South who lives in hunger, poverty, and fear. One of his biggest faults is his excessive pride; it is the source of many of his issues with others. Richard’s massive pride leads to dilemmas at his school, at his work, and in his relationships.
To begin, Richard causes problems for himself at his job because he is so full of pride. When the
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In addition, Richard’s hubris causes disputes at school. One example is when Richard’s aunt, Aunt Addie, is teaching at the school and wrongfully accuses Richard of eating walnuts in the classroom. Richard refuses to be beaten, and although he knows it will be easier just to take the beating, his stubborn pride will not allow him to be punished for a crime he did not commit. He exhibits a great deal of bravery; most people are too afraid to stand up to others, but Richard is so full of pride that he will do anything to make sure justice is served. Likewise, Richard’s pride becomes an obstacle for him when he refuses to read the speech his principal wrote for him at his graduation, he “wanted to graduate, but [he] did not want to make a public speech that was not [his] own” (Wright 175). The principal will not even consider Richard’s speech; in his mind, a black could never do anything as well as a white. In the end Richard read his own speech, and though he knew there would be consequences, Richard felt that nothing could be worse than the shame he would feel for reading a speech that was not his own. Thirdly, Richard and another boy from school find out they have been selling newspapers that support the Ku Klux Klan. When Richard discovers this, he feels