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Big Boy - Racism Essay

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Racism has been a huge problem for America for a long time. Big Boy leaves home describes Big Boy’s initiation to the harsh social reality of the rural south. However Big Boy explores racism held by odious people but also as an insidious problem of society as a whole. For Richard, the true problem of racism is not simply that it exists; but that its roots in American culture are so deep it is doubtful whether these roots can be destroyed without destroying the culture itself. In Big Boy leaves home Richard Wright uses irony in different forms. He addresses problems that happened to blacks during critical times. The author’s use of irony correlates to the lynching that will be experienced throughout the story. While reading you will notice how prevalent irony is to Richard Wright. At first the title may come across that Big Boy is ready to discover life but that is far from the case. Believe it or not but Big boy is forced to leave his childhood behind, group up and move to Chicago before he is lynched by the white mob. Richard Wright chooses to use irony to demonstrate how cruel the Jim Crow South was and blacks did not have the same equal rights, as white and he believed irony would be a great way to explain this. In this essay I will list sources of irony to show the point Wright was stating.

Doing something you are not supposed to do can result in negative consequences. The irony of Big Boy’s name and his actions explain it all. The actions that Big Boy began to take are apparent in his name. Big Boy was forced to leave his childhood behind, grow up and move to Chicago before he is lynched by the White folk. Big Boy had no other choice than to act as an adult to ensure his own survival. The use of the title normalizes the experience and recognizes the situation as a more common experience than an exceptional one. As a child Big Boy and his friends Bobo, Lester and Buck had a simple life, until one day they decided to skip school and wander the woods with the result of three loosing their lives in the end. The actions that Big Boy and his friends initiated from the beginning caused the irony to progress throughout the story.

Big Boy Leaves Home opens with the use of song lyrics. These song lyrics come from a song written about the South, which seems more like fantasy than reality. It could be argued that the song represents the Southern white experience, singing about how they laugh and love, which Wright uses as a direct comparison to the common black experience he writes about in Big Boy Leaves Home. In this way he seemingly ridicules this idealistic representation of the South and shows the true gritty experiences of black youth.

As Big Boy and his friends wander the woods they encounter a swimming hole, a place that is forbidden to blacks. The four debated about whether or not they should enter because the White Mob will lynch them if they do. Big Boy influences his friends to join him even though they refused



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