Big Boy Leaves Home Travis, Shannon, Erik, Tyler About The Author: Richard Wright Famous Author, Richard Nathan Wright, was born on September 4, 1908-November 28, 1960, in Roxie, Mississippi, the son of Nathaniel Wright, an illiterate sharecropper, and Ella Wilson, a schoolteacher. When Wright was five, his father left the family and his mother was forced to take domestic jobs away from the house. Wright and his brother spent a period at an orphanage. Around 1920 Ella Wright and the family moved from Jackson, Arkansas to live with Wright's maternal grandparents. Wright moved from school to school, graduating from the ninth grade at the Smith Robertson Junior High School in Jackson as the class valedictorian in June 1925. Wright had published his first short story, "The Voodoo of Hell's Half-Acre," in three parts in the Southern Register in 1924, but no copies survive. Many of his works addressed race relations in the United States. Wright overcame handicaps to achieve literary success. As a child growing up in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas he suffered racial discrimination, poverty and limited education opportunities. Despite these hardships he still managed to become the American writer of his time. Historical Context ● ● ● ● ● ● The story takes place in Mississippi during the 1930s Much was going on in America during the 1930s, it was the Jim Crow Era and America was in the midst of The Great Depression The Great Depression worsened the already bad economic state that African Americans were in. They were the first to be laid off, and the suffered an unemployment rate that was 2-3 times greater than that of whites. Jim Crow is the name of a race-class system in the south from 1877-1960s where blacks became second class citizens in society Jim Crow was based on the belief that whites were superior to blacks in every single way including intelligence, morality, and civilized behavior. Anti-Black racism and violence was ‘legitimized’ by Jim Crow because it was believed that making blacks and whites equal would destroy America. Theme: The Struggle of a black boy in the early 20th century south. The story shows us how the main character (Big Boy) struggles to live in a world where there is racial discrimination against people of his color Quotes: “Ah wish we hada bigger place t swim in” “The white folks got plenty swimming pools n we ain got none” “Whut it say?” “NO TRESPASSIN,” read Lester” “Know whut tha mean?” “Mean ain no dogs n niggers erllowed,” said Buck” “You hurt, Bertha, you hurt?” ‘ She starred at him and did not answer.The man turned quickly. His face was red. He raised the rifle and pointed it at Bobo.’ Explanation: -The boys have to go swimming in Old Man Harvey’s pond because Black people don’t have any swimming pools like the white folks do. On their way to the pond they come upon a sign that is quoted above but once in the pond they realize theyre spotted by a white woman who calls for a man named Jim. Jim runs to the aid of Bertha and begins to shoot at the Black boys and ends up killing two of them (Buck and Lester). Big boy tried to explain that they just wanted to get their clothes and leave but they were shot at anyway. This shows the struggle of a black boy in southern Conflict Big Boy vs. Jim: “You black sonsofbitches!" The white man released the rifle, jerked Bobo to the ground, and began to batter the naked boy with his fists. Then Big Boy swung, striking the man in the mouth with the barrel. His teeth caved in, and he fell, dazed. Bobo was on his feet. "C mon, Big Boy, les go!" After managing to shoot Lester and Buck Jim is attacked by Bobo and Big boy who are just trying to defend themselves and prevent from being shot and that’s when Big boy gets the gun from Jim and hits him with the barrel. When jim gets back up he lunges at Big boy who then shoots him. Big Boy vs. Whites Big Boy saw the mob fall back, leaving a small knot of men about the Big boy was on the run waiting for Bobo in fire. Then, for the first time, he had a full glimpse of Bobo. A black the woods so they could get picked up by a friend body flashed in the light. Bobo was struggling, twisting; they were named Will and get out of town because they binding his arms and legs. were being hunted down by all the White folk after When he saw them tilt the barrel he stiffened. A scream quivered. He what they had done to Jim.While hiding out in the knew the tar was on Bobo. The mob fell back. He saw a tar-drenched woods he heard a mob of White Men when he body glistening and turning peaked out of the Kiln he caught a glimpse of Bobo. This is an internal conflict because not only did Big Boy have to hide out all night in fear of being killed by any white people that found him, Connection To History Big Boy leaves home connects to the issues of African American of Everyday life during this time period. Big Boy faces problems throughout the story due to the color of his skin, whether it was finding a place to swim because they didn’t have a place of their own or if it was having to fight for his life because him and his friends were going to be shot for swimming in Harvey’s pond. This related to African American history due to the fact that during the time of racial segregation blacks were not allowed to be in the same places as whites and were designated to separate and more often than not worse places, varying from Bathrooms, Buses, Bubblers, Restaurants or even Swimming Pools. The Story also connects to African American culture by the way that Big Boy’s family dealt with him having to flee town. His family was undoubtedly sad but at the same time his mother and father seemed to be accepting at the fact that it was just what they had to do to keep big boy safe because they were a black family stuck in a society dominated by whites. It’s almost as though they had been prepared for this moment by the way they knew they had to call their friends right away so that they could safely get big boy out of town, almost as if they had a plan in place just incase something like this ever happend. Works Cited -Rayson, Ann. "Richard Wright's Life." Richard Wright's Life. Oxford University Press, 2000. Web. 28 Jan. 2014. -"Race During the Great Depression - American Memory Timeline- Classroom Presentation | Teacher Resources - Library of Congress." Race During the Great Depression - American Memory Timeline- Classroom Presentation | Teacher Resources - Library of Congress. Web. 03 Feb. 2014. -"What Was Jim Crow?" What Was Jim Crow. Web. 03 Feb. 2014. -"Richard Wright Biography." Richard Wright Biography. University of Buffalo. Web. 30 Jan. 2014.