Study Guide

Black Boy Chapter 7

By Richard Wright

Chapter 7

  • It’s not a good summer. Richard is living at home, where no one talks to him. His mom is recovering, but still not well. He wants to go to the North. He doesn’t have enough money for fancy clothes. Sounds like a great summer.
  • Next, Richard takes a job as a water boy in a brickyard. He’s too weak to work as a bricklayer, maybe because he never has enough money to eat.
  • Everything is great at the brickyard except for one thing: the owner’s dog, which—no doubt irritated that it keeps getting pelted with bricks—has bitten several of the workers.
  • One day, the dog attacks Richard. He tells the owner, but the owner somehow thinks black people are like Superman and can’t be harmed by petty things such as dog bites. Luckily for Richard, the wound heals without infection.
  • Eventually, the brickyard closes and again Richard has nothing to do. He briefly holds a job as a golf caddy, but he’s no good at it and gets fired pretty quickly.
  • School starts, and now Richard has no idea what to do with his life. His family doesn’t like him, he has no money, he wants to be educated but can’t get schoolbooks, and racism is horrible.
  • Richard is so bored that he decides to write a story. Surprisingly, the local newspaper decides to publish it. Unsurprisingly, they decide not to pay him. Still, Richard is stoked.
  • Until it’s published. Instead of praising Richard, everyone thinks there’s something wrong with him—like, he’s definitely a liar and possibly evil. Now he’s even more isolated than before.
  • Richard is so over the South. At this point, so are we.