Black Boy

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Uncle Hoskins Character Analysis

The husband of Maggie, who lives with her in Arkansas where he is a prosperous bar owner. For a while Richard, his mother, and his brother live with Maggie and Hoskins, and it is there that Richard experiences true stability and first realizes that it is possible to not always be hungry. However, Hoskins is killed by whites who covet his business, and that sense of stability is destroyed.

Uncle Hoskins Quotes in Black Boy

The Black Boy quotes below are all either spoken by Uncle Hoskins or refer to Uncle Hoskins. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Harper Perennial edition of Black Boy published in 2015.
Chapter 2 Quotes

There was no funeral. There was no music. There was no period of mourning. There were no flowers. There were only silence, quiet weeping, whispers, and fear.

Related Characters: Richard Wright (speaker), Uncle Hoskins
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:

Hoskins, the man whose funeral young Richard describes in this section, was the owner of a liquor store, and he was making good money in a part of Georgia where white people did not necessarily appreciate black men making any kind of money at all. Although Richard does not explain it directly, he implies that the while population near Jackson, MS, believes that Hoskins was doing too well for himself, and so he was killed - his liquor business thus making itself available to a white owner. Although Richard does not necessarily understand all that stands behind the killing - the fact that, for example, the police will not investigate it, because the police force protects white interest - he sees that the death is understood only as terrible luck. The family takes the news of the death quietly and with bitter anguish at the authorities, who will do nothing to protect them, and who seem only to reinforce the violent attitudes found in the white community. 


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Uncle Hoskins Character Timeline in Black Boy

The timeline below shows where the character Uncle Hoskins appears in Black Boy. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Movement and Dislocation Theme Icon
Hunger, Illness, and Suffering Theme Icon, and his mother move in with his Aunt Maggie—his mother’s sister—and her husband, Uncle Hoskins. The house in Elaine provides Richard, for the first time, with ample food, and he... (full context)
Movement and Dislocation Theme Icon
Hunger, Illness, and Suffering Theme Icon
Hoskins owns a bar in Elaine, and though Richard takes to him and wants to visit... (full context)
Movement and Dislocation Theme Icon
Hunger, Illness, and Suffering Theme Icon
Christianity and “Being Saved” Theme Icon
Society and the Individual Theme Icon
A few days later, Hoskins goes to the bar and does not return that evening, and the family fears that... (full context)