Example research essay topic: The Life And Times Of American Author, Novelist Richard Wright – 1,056 words

Richard Wright had to face many challenges in his
life that ultimately made him the man that he
turned out to be. From his family struggles and
his unending hunger to his troubles with racism
and bigotry, Richard had to face a whole lot of
adversity. Part of his struggle with society,
beyond the obviousness of racism, was that he
often times found himself having trouble
communicating with people. He simply couldnt
understand why these people around him, both white
and black, acted the way in which they did. Did
skin color warrant such segregation and hate?
Because of his thirst for knowledge, knowledge of
other people, Richard often had to defend himself
and his pride. Richard holds pride, knowledge, and
the quest for equality in very high regards,
because these beliefs shape the way in which he
interacts with the people he meets in his life,
and causes him to wonder what other people, both
black and white, are thinking, feeling, and
believing.

It is these beliefs that form the
foundation of his life. To Richard Wright, there
is nothing more basic and essential to man than
pride. Without it, a man is nothing: nothing to
himself and nothing to society. Even at an early
age, Richard could appreciate the value of pride.
The scene where Richard and his mother are at
their fathers house seeking money to leave for
Arkansas is a perfect example of Richard holding
on to his pride. Neither of them wants to be here,
but they are desperate and are acting out of will
for the moment. Richards father says to him, I
aint got nothingHere Richarddont be a fool, take
the nickel.

Richards father is being a jerk,
offering Richard a nickel, knowing full well that
Richard is going hungry. He is taunting his own
son. He sarcastically asks if Richard wants to
live with him, to which Richard replies, I may be
hungry now, but I wont stay with you. Even when
offered to live with his father, where he will
have plenty to eat, he refuses to live with this
man; this cowardly man who abandoned him. He has
enough pride in himself and his mother to be able
to rise above his fathers level of ignorance and
greed. Another scene that demonstrates Richards
value of pride is when he is riding the elevator
at his job with Shorty and a white man.

Shorty
demands that the white man give him a quarter, or
else he wont move the elevator. Shorty says that
the white man can kick him for a quarter, and he
does. After witnessing this, Richard says to
Shorty, How in Gods name can you do that? and, But
a quarter cant pay for what he did to you. Shorty
presented himself as though he was on a lower
level than the white man: he gave the white man
what he wanted. It is this kind of behavior that
Richard sees as detrimental to black people and
their efforts for equality. Here Richard is,
trying to establish himself as being on the same
level as white people, and Shorty is seemingly
undoing all of his work.

Yet another example of
Richard displaying his pride is in the scene where
he is taking a pair of eyeglasses to a white man
at his work to be signed in, and the man notices
that Richard looks like he doesnt get enough to
eat. He offers Richard a dollar so he can eat, but
Richard refuses it. He says to Richard, Go ahead
and take it boy. Youre ashamed to take it, but
dont let a thing like that stop you from eating.
Richard says, I wanted to take it, but the more I
looked at him the more I couldnt take it. Even
though Richard has gone hungry for so long, he
knew that if he had given into the white man, he
would be submitting to him, and that is contrary
to what Richard believes in. He has to do things
for himself, do things his own way.

He needs to
make his way in life on his own terms, not because
of someones pity for him. Another value that
Richard holds dearly is knowledge. To him, a
person who is ignorant to the truth and who is
limited by what society tells them they can and
cannot do is in many ways already dead. Books
provide Richard with a lot of this knowledge.
Reading novels provide Richard an escape from the
harsh reality of the South for black men, because
he can let his mind wander. He says, Reading was
like a drug, a dope. The novels created moods for
which I lived for days.

Books are a passageway
into the authors mind, and Richard deeply desires
and wants to know how and why other people think,
feel and behave they way in which they do. This
goes for both black and white men. Richard says,
Merely because I had read a book that had spoken
of how they (white people) lived and thought, I
identified myself with that book. I felt vaguely
guilty. He feels guilty because he is learning
more intricately just how white people lived and
regarded black people. This new understanding of
the world drove him to want more and more books;
anything he could get his hands on.

Because a man
with intelligence has the ability to make a great
change in society. Richard Wright experienced many
things during his childhood that paved the way for
the man he was to become. Having to fight against
poverty, hunger and racism was not easy for a boy
trying to survive in the South. Yet, with his
pride and his desire for knowledge and
understanding, he was able to rise above most of
the challenges that were posed before him. Richard
was the kind of man who had great potential,
because he stood up for himself and what he
believed in. He had the courage to question
things, and he couldnt understand what made white
people feel the way they did towards blacks.

But
by reading books, he could see through a
passageway into the minds of those who sought to
oppress blacks, and he fulfilled his desire for
knowledge and understanding of whites. Richard
Wright was a remarkable man. [/b].

Research essay sample on The Life And Times Of American Author Novelist Richard Wright