Pre AP English 1
16 October 2017
Narrative Techniques in “The Rights to The Streets of Memphis”
US novelist Richard Wright once stated “Men can starve from a lack of self-realization as much as they can from a lack of bread.” In “The Rights to The Streets of Memphis” Richard Wright struggles with both of these as a child. He not only was starving after his father left him but he was not aware of his own potential. He was scared and doubted his abilities after being attacked by a gang of boys. His mother had to use tough love and show Richard that he could defeat the boys. She taught him that he was capable of what he set his mind to. Wright in “The Rights to The Streets of Memphis” allows his readers to see a glimse of his difficult childhood that shaped him as a person through an exceptional use of conflict, realistic dialogue, suspense, and development of personalities.
In “The Rights to The streets of Memphis” Richard wright uses examples of internal and external conflict to show the struggles of being a single parent family in the big city. Richard shows instances where the boy talks about how he is hungry and how the hunger is growing which scares him. At the beginning of the story the boy is describing his growing hunger and says “Huger had always been more or less at my elbow when I played, but now I began to wake up at night to find hunger standing at my bedside staring at me gauntly” (Wright 118). This feeling of hunger had been steadily increasing which creates conflict because the boy is beginning to starve. Richards father had just left him and his family and he doesn’t know why. His dad was the one that always brought food into the house. As the boys huger began to intensify he was desperate for food and he states “As the days slid past the image of my father became associated with my pangs of hunger, and whenever I felt hunger I thought of him with a deep biological bitterness” (Wright 120). Richards father was the one he looked to for a source of food and now there is conflict because his father is gone and that is now who he associates with the hunger he’s began to feel.
In his story “The Rights to the Streets of Memphis,” Richard Wright uses believable dialogue to show a realistic picture of the relationship between a mother and her young son. At the beginning of the story, the reader sees that the father has left the house and stranded the family with no food or money. Richard is getting very hungry, and like any child, he whines to his mother, whom he looks to for solutions. After the mother has explained that there is no food, Richard continues to whine, “But I’m hungry” (Wright 120). Children don’t always understand the complexities of life and expect easy, quick solutions to difficult situations, and Richard was no exception. At first, the mother tries to respond with compassion. She has no food to offer, but she understands his frustration and tries to divert his attention f...