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Quotes

Quote #7

"If you know too much, boy, your brains might explode," a doctor said one day. (2.17.21)

First, we think this guy didn’t pay close enough attention during medical school. Second, white people around Richard keep telling him that education is dangerous. Dangerous for whom?

Quote #8

"Intellectuals don’t fit well into the party, Wright," he said solemnly.

"But I’m not an intellectual," I protested. "I sweep the streets for a living." I had just been assigned by the relief system to sweep the streets for thirteen dollars a week. (2.19.34)

Hm, seems like the lady doth protest too much. But what does Richard think an intellectual is? What does his unnamed questioner think about it? It seems like they might both have different definitions for the same word.

Quote #9

The heritage of free thought,—which no man could escape if he read at all,—the spirit of the Protestant ethic which one suckled, figuratively, with one’s mother’s milk, that self-generating energy that made a man feel, whether he realized it or not, that he had to work and redeem himself through his own acts, all this was forbidden, taboo. (2.19.366)

If free thought is as natural as a baby sucking milk, why is everyone so against it?

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