Hunger in Black Boy Have you ever experienced real hunger? The kinds of hungers that Richard experiences in Black Boy are not evident in the society where you and I reside. The present middle class citizens cannot really relate to true physical hunger. Hunger for most of us is when there is nothing that we desire to eat around the house and therefore skip one meal. This cannot even compare to the days that Richard endures without food. Physical hunger, however, is not the only hunger apparent in Richard’s life.
Richard suffers from emotional and educational hungers as well. He yearnsfor such things as mere association with others and simple books to read. Both of which are things that most people take for granted. This efficacious autobiography, Black Boy, by Richard Wright manifests what it is like to desire such simple paraphernalia. From a very early age and for much of his life thereafter, Richard experiences chronic physical hunger. “Hunger stole upon me slowly that at first I was not aware of what hunger really meant.
Hunger had always been more or less at my elbow when I played, but now I began to wake up at night to find hunger standing at my bedside, staring at me gauntly” (16). Soonafter the disappearance of Richard’s father, he begins to notice constant starvation. This often reappears in his ensuing life. The type of hunger that Richard describes is worse than one who has not experienced chronic hunger can even imagine. “Once again I knew hunger, biting hunger, hunger that made my body aimlessly restless, hunger that kept me on edge, that made my temper flare, that made my temper flare, hunger that made hate leap out of my heart like the dart of a serpent’s tongue, hunger that created in me odd cravings” (119). Because hunger has always been a part of Richard’s lifestyle, he cannot even imagine eating meat every day.
This simple privilege would be a miracle to him, yet to most it is nothing. These weakening and piercing hungers are frequently evident where poverty dwells in the Jim Crow South. Furthermore, emotional hunger also represses much of Richard’s life. Richard desires attention from people. However, since he does not receive much of this at home, he does not really know how to associate with others. This provokes a problem when he leaves home because he cannot understand the friendliness of people around him. “Nevertheless, I was so starved for association with people that I allowed myself to be.