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Prejudice In Literature

Toni Morrisons, The Bluest Eye, Alice Walkers , The Color Purple , and
Richard Wrights autobiography , Black Boy , all represent prejudicy . The
preceding novels show the characters were typical victims, not understading the
division of power amongst races. The Bluest Eye , a heart breaking story of a
little back girl living in Lorain, Ohio during the 1930s, manifest the
longing of Pecola Breedloves obsession for love. In order to achieve love she
would have to deny herself of her true identity and surrender to what is thought
to be beautiful and superior: little white girls “gifted” with blond hair
and blue eyes. The novel procalaims the nations love for little white girls.

Sadly, Pecola wishes every night to abolish her ugliness: her blackness. If she
could only become “beautiful” she would be loved , rather then become the
subject of hatred ranging fom people like her mother tro her teachers to her
classmates. Recounting the story of a black girls hardships in the world
of prejudice, Alice Walkers , The Color Purple presents a moving story of
love, ill-treatment, and growth. Celie, the main character, advances toward
inner growth changing from a abused and submissive wife to an independent and
confident black women. The story is written in Celies journal addressed to
God. This is because the only person she thinks she can trust is God I with her
secrets. From Celies journal the reader finds out about other characters in
the novel such as Alfonso, Mr._____, Shug, Nettie, and Harpo. The theme of the
novel is straightforward and simple. Like many of the other novels devoted to
the mistreatment of blacks and black women especially. Much of the novel reflect
points in the authors life. The novel is derived from Alice Walkers own
personal experience, growing up in the rural south as an abused and uneducated
child. Black Boy is an autobiography about Richard Wright. He was born in the
rural Mississippi, the grandson of slaves. Richard Wright overcame every social
obstacle including poverty, racism and limited education to achieve the
regonition as the creator of Americas most powerful literature. Black Boy,
Richard Wright’s autobiography, covers his childhood and early adulthood. It
opens with four-year-old Richard’s rebellion against authority. In order to
occupy his time Richard accidently burns down his grandfathers house. “My idea
was growing. Now I was wondering how the long fluffy curatians would look if I
held the burning straws under them( pg 11).” All throughout the entire novel
Richard has some type of hunger. His hunger gets him into trouble. At the time,
Richard was and resentful of his mother’s command of silence. After his mother
determined that he was unharmed, she beat him so badly that he lost
consciousness. When Richard and his brother were very young, Nathan Wright,
their father, a sharecropper , abandoned the family, plunging them into poverty.

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Richard’s constant hunger made him extremely bitter toward his father. Over the
next few years, Ella, Richard’s mother, would desperately attempt 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
didnt work helpfully with his growing obsession with alcohol, Ella engaged
the babysitting services of an older black woman in the neighborhood who watched
every move. Ella moved in with her sister, Maggie, and Maggie’s husband, Silas
Hoskins. Hoskins was the owner of a successful saloon, so there was always more
than enough food to eat. Nevertheless, Richard was unable to lose the fear that
his hunger would return anew, so he hoarded food all over the house.

Unfortunately, the newly found stableness was not destined to last. The local
whites were jealous of Hoskins’s profitable business, so they murdered him and
threatened to kill the rest of his family. Maggie and Ella fled with the two
boys to live in another town. Maggie and Ella’s combined wages proved adequate
to feed and clothe Richard and his brother, but Maggie became involved with
“Professor” Matthews, a wanted man. Matthews, being a wanted man gave
the children valued things and a puppy.Shortly after Richard desired to sell the
dog for money to sooth his hunger. The lady only having 97 cents was denied new
ownership of the puppy. A week later the dog was run over and killed. Ella and
the children fled to the North after Mathews killed a white woman; Ella once
again had to work alone to provide for herself and her children. Ella’s health
began to deteriorate. Because she didnt have money for rent she and her sons
were forced to move several times. A paralytic stroke disabled her, so Richard
was forced to write to his grandmother for help. Ella’s siblings gave hat help
they could, but none of them could take on the responsibility for both of her
children. Richard’s grandmother took on the responsibility for caring for Ella.

Maggie took Richard’s younger brother to raise in Detroit, while Richard chose
to live with his Uncle Clark, who lived close to Richard’s grandmother. However,
Richard ultimately could not get along with Clark and his wife Jody, so he
returned to Jackson to live with his mother in his grandparents’ home. Richard’s
grandmother was a strict Seventh Day Adventist, but Richard was an atheist from
an early age. He also had a yearning to be a writer, a profession that his
grandmother distrusted as “wrldly.” His relationship with his
grandmother was therefore a never-ending battle. His Aunt Addie eventually
joined the crusade to save his soul, and Richard was enrolled in the religious
school where she taught. One day, she beat Richard in class for an offense that
he did not commit. He was accused of eating in school. She tried to beat him
again after school, but Richard fought her off with a knife. In the following
years, Richard would have to defend himself against the violence of various
members of his family. Despite his random schooling, Richard managed to graduate
from the ninth grade. He tried to work to save money in order to move to the
North, but he found himself unable to assume the role of humble inferior to his
white employers and co-workers. During this time, he suffered numerous
frightening, often violent confrontations with white racism. He moved to Memphis
where the atmosphere was less dangerous. He insulted the attempts of his kindly
landlady, Mrs. Moss, to marry him to her daughter, Bess. Meanwhile, he began
saving for his escape to the North. His mother, brother, and Aunt Maggie joined
him in Memphis, and later moved with him to Chicago. Chicago urged new desires
and dreams in Richard, but he was still too afraid to fully acknowledge them.

Mired in the sadness and chaos of the great depression, Richard found an
ideology that appealed to him in Communism. He felt that he could aid the
Communists in spreading their message via his writing, but to his horror and
dismay, he soon discovered that petty rivalries and paranoia ran deep among his
peers. He found himself he object of suspicion and distrust because he was
branded an “intellectual.” After a series of political battles and a
great deal of persecution, Richard became like an alien from the Party. He was
ousted by several Communist when he tried to march in a May Day parade, but he
did not let this rejection defeat him. Instead, he resolved to find his own
forms of expression and self-realization through his writing. One of the factors
that influenced the novels was the setting. The Color Purple takes place in the
south during the early 1900s. It is not usual that predjudicy against women
and blacks took place. The Bluest Eye also takes place during the early 1900s
in Lorain , Ohio. Similar to the Color Purple black boy takes place in the
south; arond the 1930s in Mississipi. This time in civilization is ideal for
predjudicy. This was the time during the civil war. Black were not slave but
they were still treated with little respect. Racist whites were extremely
hostile to black literacy, and even more so to black Americans who wanted to
make writing a carreer. During these times blacks were highly mistreated.

Without the setting it would be doubtful for the plot in the novel to take
place. All of the novels portray prejudicy toward the characters. The theme of
the Color purple is straightforward and simple. Like many other novels devoted
to the mistreatment of blacks and black women espescially, The color purple is
dedicated to black womens’ rights. Much of the narrative in Walker’s novel is
derived from her own experience, growing up in the rural south as an abused and
uneducated child. Richard seems to be a mere reflection to Alice Walker, in his
autobiography, Black Boy. Similarly to Richard and Alice Walker, Pecola is a
little black girl who is also abused. Pecola’s dreams represented the all
American dream. In Pecola’s eyes hiteness represents beauty, middle-class
affluence, popularity, and happiness. Throughout the novel, lines from Dick and
Jane preface several chapters. The perfect white world of the reading contrasts
sharply with the poverty and suffering of the black characters in the novel. A
pattern of rebellion and punishment last all throughout Black Boy. After
searching and searching Richard refused to give up his individuality to prove
his loyalty to himself and others. He decide, as he always had, to go his own
way. The characters in The Bluest Eye, Black Boy, and The Color Purple are
victims of social obstacles such as being the vistims of racism, poverty and
poor education. The characters deal with their obstacles differently. Pecola
hides away wishing everyday to terminate her blackness. Soon later, due to
herself and people around, she goes mad thinking she is actually gifted with
blue eyes more beautiful than anyone elses. Celia stays a submissive wife until
Shug comes along to boost her self-esteem to where it has never gone before. At
first Richard , in Black Boy, does not understand any of his obstacles.

Therefore that was his hunger to go searching for more knowledge.


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