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Free Study Guide-Black Boy by Richard Wright-Free Online Book Notes
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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES

CHAPTER 10

Summary

Richard remains disturbed for days after resigning from the optical company, but he doesnít share his misery with anyone for fear of reproach. He decides to stifle his conscience and ignore the attitude of his White employers. Thus, after a lot of contemplation, he takes up work as a helper in a drug store. He does his job sincerely but feels conscious of his attitude towards his employer. His heart is full of fear and apprehension. In this state of mind, he drops a jar of orange juice one-day and earns the wrath of his boss. At the end of the week, his employer dismisses him after handing him his pay.

After remaining idle for long, he acquires the job of a cleaner in the same hotel where Nedís brother had lost his life. He does his job well and is happy to be in the company of other Negro boys, who are employees in the same hotel. Soon, he is promoted to the position of a bellboy. He decides to save money for his trip to the North. Since the salary he earns is not sufficient, he starts bootlegging liquor to the White prostitute in the hotel and earns extra money. Shortly afterwards, he quits the job and starts working as a ticket collector in a movie house. He begins his work in earnest and impresses his boss with his integrity. However, when the boss goes out on errands, he plots with a Negro girl in the ticket office and duplicates tickets in order to make extra money. Their plot succeeds and Richard makes enough money to venture to the North. Before his departure, he makes a last bid to make extra money, by stealing food cans from a near-by college. Richard quits his job in the theatre and bids goodbye to the South.


Notes

Richard becomes aware of his shortcoming, that is, he is a sensitive person. He realizes that he reacts easily to situations and gets involved in it. However, he finds it difficult to stifle his individuality and become a shadow of the White majority. In this disturbed state of mind, he accepts the job of a helper in a drug store. Conscious of his attitude and fearful of reproach, he acts awkwardly. Thus, when he drops a jar of orange juice and gets scolded by the boss, he reacts in a manner that provokes the wrath of his boss. At the end of the week, his employer sacks him.

Richard prepares himself to brave any adverse circumstance that comes his way. He accepts a job in a hotel where his friend Nedís brother had lost his life. He learns to work in a detached manner by adjusting himself to the situation and not reacting to it. He is soon promoted to the position of a bellboy. He decides to use his position to make money. Thus, he steals liquor and sells it to make extra money. Not wanting to take risk, he leaves the job and takes up another at a movie house as a ticket collector. He learns the tricks of the trade in order to make fast money. He plots with the lady at the counter to duplicate tickets and earn extra money. After saving enough for his trip to the North, he quits the job. However, before he leaves the South, he makes a last bid to increase his savings. He joins two boys and steals cans of food from the neighboring college and gets money by selling them.

Richard, who had all along been honest and principled, forgets his scruples in order to earn money for his travel to Memphis. He makes a bid to escape from the racial South and establish his identity as an individual. As he finds no way to save money to reach North, he resorts to illegal means to make the extra money. Here one can see how a young, sensible boy with high moral standards is pushed by circumstances into doing something illegal. He does feel guilty about his actions, but realizes that it is the only way to gain his freedom and achieve his goal in life.

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