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Schafer, R. (1949). Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. XLII, 1947: Black Boy: A Value Analysis. Ralph K. White. Pp. 440–461.. Psychoanal Q., 18:411.

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Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. XLII, 1947: Black Boy: A Value Analysis. Ralph K. White. Pp. 440–461.

(1949). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 18:411

Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. XLII, 1947: Black Boy: A Value Analysis. Ralph K. White. Pp. 440–461.

Roy Schafer

This is a partly qualitative and partly statistical analysis of the book, Black Boy, by Richard Wright. Both methods of analysis point up the unhappiness of Richard Wright's life—the bitterness and aggression both in his life as a whole and in the motivation of this book, his special animus against his father and against Southern whites, his ambivalence toward his mother and indifference to girls of his own age, and the ruthless honesty of thinking which may have kept him from venting his aggression unrealistically against scapegoats. According to the statistical analysis especially, there was a great deal of physical fear in Richard Wright's life, which leads to the supposition that his aggressiveness was 'defensive in character and rooted in very deep anxieties'. The evidence suggests that he did not have a thorough-going identification with Negroes as a group, but rather that he was a relatively solitary person. A 'more or less classical' Oedipus complex is also suggested by his complete disapproval of his father, who was to him 'something unclean', the apparent absence of other important love-objects of either sex on his own age level, his relatively strong concern for his mother's welfare, and his profound satisfaction when he found the protecting mother-figure for whom he had always longed.


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Article Citation

Schafer, R. (1949). Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. XLII, 1947. Psychoanal. Q., 18:411

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WARNING! This text is printed for the personal use of the subscriber to PEP Web and is copyright to the Journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to copy, distribute or circulate it in any form whatsoever.