Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Book With Surprising Lessons

At first, I was not sure what to think. Many books in the box were written by the same author, which got me wondering if that was a good sign or a bad sign for this book sale. I realized the person selling the books was a former professor, well past retirement age, and I reasoned that this man does not read garbage and was "cleaning house." So I bought up every book he being sold authored by Richard Wright. And I devoured every book by Richard Wright.

"Uncle Tom's Children" stands out as the work that was most educational. I did not what to expect or think from the outset. This collection of fictional short stories are as brutally honest as his non-fiction. I read this after reading Wright's biographical work, "Black Boy" and was stunned by what Wright delivered. I have been educated.

My appreciation for a time, people and culture has been significantly and positively impacted by Wright's descriptive writing. He takes the reader by the hand and shows us the dirt, the blood, the smell of sweat in houses and kitchens, the feel of the heat of the day and the oppressive darkness of night. Wright introduces us to men and women who live, thrive or die trying.

My opinion is that students of literature and/or American history should read one or more of Richard Wright's works. Especially these generations so far removed from the source material.


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