Shortly after his birth, his father left his mother with him in 1908. As a child, he was very close to poverty and starvation. He and his mother later moved in with his uncle who later was lynched by a white mob. His family was compelled to flee from Arkansas and wandered around- looking for where to stay. The predicament of the family forcedly shunted him from one family to another. A member of the family, who later took him in, though they were also poor and frustrated, beat him incessantly. Life didn’t grant him what he wanted at the moment. But he had one habit- reading. He liked reading books. This was another thing that made him different. His boss and friends were aware of this but they taunted and ostracized him.
As Richard Wright was increasing in age, he knew better and faced more difficulties. But as he read more books about the wider world and thought more deeply, a different spirit rose inside him- a need to rebel and not accept the status quo developed in him. He no longer condoned any form of nonsense from any element. He didn’t care, if people thought he was different. He was proud of it and felt more than justified in doing this.
This spirit permeated his life to the very end. Wright thought he had had enough experiences in life, so he ventured into writing career. He believed that is another way to express one’s mind. He wrote many interesting novels but the problem was that those novels were misread by white public. They had a virulent impression against him. They called him a racist. Wright understood the problems. So he decided to tailor his words to appeal to them. He rose audaciously above this fear of pleasing others and wrote a book that could not be misread. This became ‘Native Son’. This book elevated him to a higher level and earned him more respect in the society.
Life is not as simple as we might presume. During our pupilage, we tend to subject to what others want from us rather than what we want. People are ready to take from us what they can or exploit us to amass their self-interest. They can only do this when they sense that you are the type of person who accepts and submits. They are callously ready to take advantage of you to achieve their desired goals. It is you that will pick up audaciousness and fight back intelligently to have your liberty. Our heroes understood this and they fought for the freedom of the country. You too must demonstrate to aggressors that there are lines that cannot be crossed. Mind you, not only by saying you can show this: Your attitude is even more effective. Be a fearless element who is audaciously ready to fight for his right.
I’m leaving you with the paradoxical law of human nature:
Pleasing people less will make them respect you more and treat you better.
Richard Wright understood this, exhibited it and reaped the reward.
About Abdulrasheed Lawal
He is an experienced Educationist, a Poet and an Inspirational Writer who has touched many lives immensely through his creative Poems, Articles and Short Stories. He currently resides in Ibadan, Nigeria.
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