Black Boy

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Wright’s brother Character Analysis

Though never named, Wright’s brother is Wright’s companion in childhood; he is then raised, partially, by Aunt Maggie in Detroit, when Wright’s mother becomes ill. Wright and his brother grow apart during their teenage years, but are reunited in Memphis, and the two of them, along with their mother and Maggie, move to Chicago and the memoir’s end.

Wright’s brother Quotes in Black Boy

The Black Boy quotes below are all either spoken by Wright’s brother or refer to Wright’s brother. 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 3 Quotes

Out of the family conferences it was decided that my brother and I would be separated, that it was too much of a burden for any one aunt or uncle to assume the support of both of us. Where was I to go? Who would take me?

Related Characters: Richard Wright (speaker), Wright’s brother
Page Number: 98
Explanation and Analysis:

After learning that his mother had suffered a stroke, Richard realizes that, along with his brother, he would be "too much" to care for by any one family - and this means that he and his brother will be separated, and Richard will be forced to live away from all the relatives he has known up to this point in his life. This is another setback for Richard, who has achieved so little stability in his life since a young age, after his father abandons the family, and then he, his mother, and his brother move around the South, from family member to family member, attempting to find a place to settle.

Richard is here told once again that he and his brother are a burden, and that others will have to care of him at great expense to them - that Richard and his brother, in other words, can only be tolerated and not loved. 

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Wright’s brother Character Timeline in Black Boy

The timeline below shows where the character Wright’s brother appears in Black Boy. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Movement and Dislocation Theme Icon
Hunger, Illness, and Suffering Theme Icon
Society and the Individual Theme Icon
...memoir begins as a four-year-old boy, named Richard Wright—the book’s author and narrator—and his unnamed brother sit quietly in their house in Mississippi. Their mother informs them that they must stay... (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
Richard recounts a story, in which he and his brother, playing with a cat, wake his father. Richard’s father then tells Richard to kill to... (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
Richard’s brother is horrified by Richard’s actions, and Richard’s mother chastises him, saying that it was a... (full context)
Movement and Dislocation Theme Icon
Hunger, Illness, and Suffering Theme Icon
Society and the Individual Theme Icon
...will have to get a job to put food on the table. Richard and his brother ask, periodically, why their father is no longer living with them, but their mother refuses... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Hunger, Illness, and Suffering Theme Icon
Christianity and “Being Saved” Theme Icon
Society and the Individual Theme Icon
...behavior, and finally, after his mother hires a babysitter to look after Richard and his brother, the “taste of alcohol” leaves Richard, and he does not drink again until he is... (full context)
Movement and Dislocation Theme Icon
Hunger, Illness, and Suffering Theme Icon
Society and the Individual Theme Icon
Richard goes to court, with his brother and mother, as his mother attempts to argue before a judge that Richard’s father should... (full context)
Chapter 2
Racism Theme Icon
Hunger, Illness, and Suffering Theme Icon
Society and the Individual Theme Icon
...his mother still cannot afford to care for him—and says that she, Richard, and his brother will be moving to her sister’s house in Elaine, Arkansas, after stopping to see Granny... (full context)
Hunger, Illness, and Suffering Theme Icon
Christianity and “Being Saved” Theme Icon
Reading and Writing Theme Icon
Society and the Individual Theme Icon
...again and remains in her bed. One night, when Granny is bathing Richard and his brother, Richard asks Granny, without thinking, to “kiss” his backside—a playful jest, he thinks. But Granny... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Movement and Dislocation Theme Icon
Hunger, Illness, and Suffering Theme Icon
Society and the Individual Theme Icon
...the natural beauties of Jackson, and some of the more peaceful moments he and his brother enjoy with Grandpa and Granny. But Richard’s mother soon takes Richard and his brother aboard... (full context)
Movement and Dislocation Theme Icon
Hunger, Illness, and Suffering Theme Icon
Richard, his brother, and his mother move in with his Aunt Maggie—his mother’s sister—and her husband, Uncle Hoskins.... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Hunger, Illness, and Suffering Theme Icon
Society and the Individual Theme Icon
...in the house are too much to bear, and so she moves Richard and his brother, again, back to Arkansas, to the town of West Helena, near Elaine. There, Richard and... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Movement and Dislocation Theme Icon
Hunger, Illness, and Suffering Theme Icon
Christianity and “Being Saved” Theme Icon
...the night. Before they do so, Maggie says a tearful goodbye to Richard and his brother. The next morning, Richard asks his mother what has taken place, and she says only... (full context)
Chapter 3
Movement and Dislocation Theme Icon
Hunger, Illness, and Suffering Theme Icon
Reading and Writing Theme Icon
Society and the Individual Theme Icon
One day, Richard’s brother calls him in to his mother’s bedroom, and the two boys discover that their mother... (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
...family, and says that Granny is too old to care for both Richard and his brother, and that the boys will be raised separately. Richard’s brother is to head north to... (full context)
Chapter 4
Movement and Dislocation Theme Icon
Hunger, Illness, and Suffering Theme Icon
Christianity and “Being Saved” Theme Icon
Reading and Writing Theme Icon
Society and the Individual Theme Icon
...mother is no longer earning money, but rather lying in her bed, and since Richard’s brother is now in Detroit—he must submit to Granny’s will. Granny, for her part, is an... (full context)
Chapter 8
Movement and Dislocation Theme Icon
Hunger, Illness, and Suffering Theme Icon
Christianity and “Being Saved” Theme Icon
Reading and Writing Theme Icon
Society and the Individual Theme Icon
...for Mrs. Bibbs, and vows to leave Jackson at the end of the year. His brother returns to Jackson to visit from Chicago, where he has moved (although Richard first reports... (full context)
Chapter 10
Racism Theme Icon
Hunger, Illness, and Suffering Theme Icon
Society and the Individual Theme Icon
...tenth grade. He takes a job as a mop-boy in the same hotel where Ned’s brother was murdered—a hotel that is used as a brothel by white men and white prostitutes.... (full context)
Chapter 13
Racism Theme Icon
Hunger, Illness, and Suffering Theme Icon
Christianity and “Being Saved” Theme Icon
Reading and Writing Theme Icon
Society and the Individual Theme Icon
Richard’s brother, who has been living in Jackson with their mother, comes up to Memphis with her... (full context)
Chapter 14
Racism Theme Icon
Movement and Dislocation Theme Icon
Hunger, Illness, and Suffering Theme Icon
Christianity and “Being Saved” Theme Icon
Reading and Writing Theme Icon
Society and the Individual Theme Icon
...Maggie also moves to Memphis, as she is looking for work. Maggie, Richard's mother and brother, and Richard all decide simply to leave for Chicago as soon as possible, for they... (full context)