These motifs include violence, religion, starvation, familial unity and lack thereof, literacy, and the North Star as a guide towards freedom.
Regardless of Wright's efforts to break free from this violent lifestyle, a society based on differences will always feed on an inescapable discourse.
Wright negates the racially based oppression he endured through his ability to read and write with eloquence and credibility as well as with his courage to speak back against the dominant norms of society that are holding him back.
Given Black Boy’s emphasis on racial inequality in America, many of the motifs refer to the lingering aspects of slave narratives in present day.
Wright is a curious child living in a household of strict, religious women and violent, irresponsible men.
After his father deserts his family, young Wright is shuffled back and forth between his sick mother, his fanatically religious grandmother, and various maternal aunts, uncles and orphanages attempting to take him in.
At first, Wright thinks he will find friends within the party, especially among its black members, but he finds them to be just as timid to change as the southern whites he left behind.
The Communists fear those who disagree with their ideas and quickly brand Wright as a "counter-revolutionary" for his tendency to question and speak his mind.
When he was seventeen, he left Jackson to find work in Memphis where he became heavily involved in literary groups and publications and expanded on his use of words as the weapon “to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for the life that gnaws in us” that is seen in Black Boy.
Black Boy (American Hunger) is an autobiography following Richard Wright's childhood and young adulthood.