Richard Wright, fully Richard Nathaniel Wright

Wright, fully Richard Nathaniel Wright

American Author, Novelist, Short Story Writer and Poet

Author Quotes

With a twitching nose a dog reads a telegram on a wet tree trunk.

You are your own law, so you'll be your own judge.

You can't eat a dead dog, can you?

You lost people!

You ought to know God through some church.

To hold an attitude of antagonism or distrust toward Jews was bred in us from childhood; it was not merely racial prejudice, it was a part of our cultural heritage.

Trying to please everybody, I pleased nobody.

Violence is a personal necessity for the oppressed...It is not a strategy consciously devised. It is the deep, instinctive expression of a human being denied individuality.

Watching the white people eat would make my empty stomach churn and I would grow vaguely angry. Why could I not eat when I was hungry? Why did I always have to wait until others were through? I could not understand why some people had enough food and others did not.

We knew about that. We want to get him over to join up with the squad and he can travel back for the court case.

We must have a purge.

What a weird experience I had had! At no time had I felt at home in the Communist party. I had always felt that the possibility was there, but always I was not quite sure of the motives of the people with whom I worked and they never seemed quite sure of mine. My comrades had known me, my family, my friends; they, God knows, had known my aching poverty. But they had never been able to conquer their fear of the individual way in which I acted and lived, an individuality which life had seared into my blood and bones.

What vision must Negro writers have before their eyes in order to feel the impelling necessity for an about face? What angle of vision can show them all the forces of modern society in process, all the lines of economic development converging toward a distant point of hope? Must they believe in some `ism'?

When you get through, kiss back there.

Where could he find such experiences, such spheres of existence? In the main, he accepted the kind of world that the Bible claimed existed; but, for the sufferings, terrors, accidental births, and meaningless deaths of that world, he rejected the Biblical prescriptions of repentance, prayer, faith and grace. He was persuaded that what started on this earth had to be rounded off and somehow finished here.

White, red and black, but quickly tells him to hush, saying, They'll call you a colored man when you grow up. Do you mind, Mr. Wright?

They had rejected the state of things as they were, and that seemed to me to be the first step toward embracing a creative attitude toward life. I felt that it was not until one wanted the world to be different that one could look at the world with will and emotion. But these men had rejected what was before their eyes without quite knowing what they had rejected and why.

This presentation had lasted for more than three hours, but it had enthroned a new sense of reality in the hearts of those present, a sense of man on earth. With the exception of the church and its myths and legends, there was no agency in the world so capable of making men feel the earth and the people upon it as the Communist party.

This was the culture from which i sprang. This was the terror from which I fled.

Though I had never had any assignments from a college professor, I had made much harder and more prolonged attempts at self-expression than any of them. Swearing love for art, they hovered on the edge of Bohemian life. Always friendly, they could never be anybody?s friend; always reading, they could really never learn; always boasting of their passions, they could never really feel and were afraid to live.

To beg drinks in the saloon became an obsession. Many evenings my mother would find me wandering in a daze and take me home and beat me; but the next morning, no sooner had she gone to her job than I would run to the saloon and wait for someone to take me in and buy me a drink. My mother protested tearfully to the proprietor of the saloon, who ordered me to keep out of his place. But the men?reluctant to surrender their sport?would buy me drinks anyway, letting me drink out of their flasks on the streets, urging me to repeat obscenities. I was a drunkard in my sixth year, before I had begun school.

The most valued pleasure of the people I knew was a car, the most cherished experience a bottle of whisky, the most sought-after prize somebody else?s wife. I had no sense of being inferior or superior to the people about me; I merely felt that they had had no chance to learn to live differently. I never criticized them or praised them, yet they felt in my neutrality a deeper rejection of them than if I had cursed them.

The naked will of power seemed always to walk in the wake of a hymn.

The plots and stories in the novels did not interest me so much as the point of view revealed.

The principal's speech is the better speech.

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Wright, fully Richard Nathaniel Wright
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American Author, Novelist, Short Story Writer and Poet