The Library Card, by Richard Wright is a strong essay on how books can impact and act upon readers. Richard Wright writes that his first experience of the existent universe is accomplished through novels. He read an article knocking H.L. Mencken and it tempted him to read some of his books.
The article labeled Mencken as a fool. Wright wanted to cognize what this adult male had done to do such hatred against him. I wondered what on Earth this Mencken had done to name down upon him the contempt of the South. The lone people I had of all time heard denounced in the South were Negroes, and this adult male was non a Negro, ( pg.319 )
Wright writes that tells us that the South was filled with racism and hatred among the Whites and inkinesss. Mencken must hold had thoughts that the South did non like. Since Wright had ne’er been exposed to such hatred between the Whites and inkinesss, he did non cognize what precisely was traveling on in the universe around him.
Wright wished to delve in deeper into this issue and it motivated him to borrow a library card from a white adult male. Since he? knew that Negroes were non allowed to sponsor its shelves any more than they were the Parkss and resort areas of the metropolis, ( pg.319 ) he had asked an Irish Catholic that was hated by the white Southerners.
Richard, Don t reference this to the other white work forces, ( pg.321 ) the Irish Catholic said to Wright, which indicates that he is non a typical white Southerner who is against the inkinesss. If there is anyone who is in favour of the inkinesss, they are automatically disliked by the other Whites. The Irish Catholic has perfectly nil once more Richard taking out books to read. Other people will be leery and they think it is incorrect for black people to read.
Richard was forced to hammer a note to the librarian expression that the Irish wanted to take out books by Mencken. He wrote, Beloved Dame: Will you please allow this nigga male child have some books by H.L. Mencken ( pg.321 ) He used the words nigga male child to do the librarian feel that he could non perchance be the 1 who wrote the note. The word nigga was often used in the yesteryear, and it is still used today. A nigga is a black individual, but it is used to diss them.
The librarian asked many inquiries to Richard, to do certain that he wasn? t the one utilizing the books. You re non utilizing these books, are you she asked pointedly. There is a rigorous regulation in loaning books to black people. The Whites do non desire to spread out black people’s cognition, since they merely want them to be slaves. Back so, black people could barely read or compose and they were non offered the instruction to larn so. Once Richard took out the books, he headed back to the Irish Catholic and told him that the librarian might telephone him. It is to do certain that the books were for him and non for Richard. If Richard gets caught taking out the books and reading it for himself, he will acquire in large problem for it.
Richard first book was A Book of Prefaces, which was written by Mencken. He was surprised on how Mencken fought with words in the book, and he was shocked with his manner. When he couldn T understand some words, he had to utilize a lexicon to assist him out. After he read the book, he felt that he had experienced something new, I hungered for books, new ways of looking and seeing. It was non a affair of believing or discrediting what I read, but of experiencing something new, of being affected by something that made the expression of the universe different. ( pg.323 )
Books had made him see the universe otherwise and they opened his eyes. Every clip he read a book, he could non set it down. The temper of it lingered, colourising everything he saw, heard, did. He identified himself with the books he read, and it made him mistily guilty. Would I, filled with studious impressions, act in a mode that would do the Whites dislike me he questioned himself and it made him experience isolated from the universe around him. Every clip he reads a book, he learns something new. Reading grew into a passion for him. He could now place his foreman as an American type. He felt a huge distance between him and his foreman but now, he felt closer to him. He forged more notes and took out more books from the library.
Richard had learned a batch from reading these books and it made him experience distant from the universe. He was afraid that the white work forces he worked with could state that he was altering. He looks at the universe in a different manner, and he learned things that he one time did non cognize. Whenever person sees a book in his manus, he had to cover himself and state that it was to kill clip. You ll addle your encephalons if you don t ticker out, ( pg.324 ) says one of the white work forces, that indicates that they think black people could non keep much cognition.
Richard’s landlady even said, I hope you know your ain head, in a tone which implied that he had no head. Richard read Dreisers Jennie Gerhardt and Sister Carrie, and it revived him a vivid sense of his female parent’s agony. He was overwhelmed and it made him inquire more about the life around him. He did non desire to state the white work forces what he was believing because he did non desire them to believe of him otherwise. He had to maintain everything he learned and read to himself.
Richard now knew what it means to be a Negro. He had learned to populate with hatred. I no longer felt that the universe about me was hostile, killing ; I knew it. A million times I asked myself what I could make to salvage myself, and there were no replies, ( pg.325 ) suggests that Richard is contending to happen ways for a better life. He feels that walls pealing him and there is no flight. He did non desire to speak to the Irish Catholic about his jobs, which means that he has to speak about himself and that is excessively painful. Some of the white work forces at work noticed that he is get downing to alter. They tell him to wake up and that he is get downing to wide.
That winter Richard began to eat warm nutrient and three classs a twenty-four hours. He realized that the more the repasts, the more better he could read. He besides thought that he might hold lived through unwellnesss and survived them, ne’er surmising that he was ill. Richard and his brother started salvaging money to head up north. Since he felt that the white work forces at his work would alter toward him, he did non state them about heading North. It would hold made them experience that he did non like the life he was populating in, since his life was wholly conditioned by what they said or did.
He began to believe about what he could make to assist the lives of all black people. He could contend the Southern Whites by forming with other inkinesss, like what his gramps had done. But he knew he could non win that manner, since there were more Whites than inkinesss. He could populate the life of a affable slave, but that was impossible. All his life had shaped him to populate by his ain feelings and ideas. He could besides get married Bess and inherit his house, but that is besides similar life as a slave. He could besides contend with Shorty and Harrison, but that means contending against his ain people.
I had seen many Negroes solve the job of being black by reassigning their hate of themselves to others with a black tegument and contending them. ( pg.327 ) He would hold to be cold to make that, and he would ne’er be. He could bury about everything he read, bury about the Whites, and happen release from anxiousness through intoxicant and sex. But the memory of his male parent stopped him from making so. He did non cognize what to make and it seemed like everything he thought have has a negative consequence to it. He was confused and he wanted to happen replies.
Reading books can assist people understand and recognize what is traveling on around them. Richard lived his life thought that he knew everything at that place is to cognize, and that he lived in a pleasant topographic point. When he started reading, he learned that the universe around him was non a good topographic point at all.
The Whites ruled everything and the inkinesss were slaves. Books had changed his personality and his thought. He now knew what it is like to be black and that the Whites ne’er respected him. This short narrative besides implies that if one needs instruction to last the universe. This universe is filled with hatred and racism, and it is better if everyone understands it. Books open up the head, and it is the key to understanding the universe we are populating in.