“The Library Card” was a powerful story that showed how reading can influence and affect its readers. While I was reading this story, I was forced to think about how horribly African Americans were treated and the struggles they had to face. To me, this means that it sparked his curiosity on the meaning of life, questions about fate, and even examining his own life. I believe Richard Wright was trying to make sense of the meaning of life and the purpose of his own way of living.
I began to notice Wright was trying to find the reasoning for racial segregation and the judging of one’s character based on race, religion, and even his way of life. At the age of eighteen, Richard Wright was soon drawn to H. L. Mencken because of a newspaper headline which stated “Mencken is a fool. ” To me, this symbolizes Wright’s urge for knowledge and his questioning behind racial segregation. I wondered, just as Wright did, what did Mencken do to cause the South to have such hatred toward not only to Richard, but the African American population as a whole.
I believe that he was eager to gain knowledge and figure out an explanation on why the South’s racial tension was so present at this time. As Wright made the suggestion of borrowing a library card from the white men, I found him extremely bold and daring, considering all the racial solidarity toward Negroes in that time period. Not only that, but I was startled that someone who was my age was not allowed to borrow a book from a community library. I considered that reading was a way for Wright to escape the terrible world around him and go to a better place.
I believe he wanted to escape to a place of knowledge and curiosity. As he described his thoughts and feelings about the book to Mr. Falk, I was ensured that he was establishing a sense of education in Wright’s life by making sure he gained insight about the material. As Wright gets carried away in the stories that he reads, he realizes that he is starting to see the world around him in a different way. In my opinion, he was beginning to see life for what it really was: a crude, unfair, and forgiving world. At this point, I believe he noticed potential within himself to overcome the present situation in the South.
To me, he was longing for hope to eventually be in a better place, where no discrimination was based on race, religion, or ethical backgrounds. To Richard his hopes and dreams began with moving North. After reading the whole story, I grew to notice that Wright changed completely. He started out as an eighteen year old boy who just wanted to learn, and soon changed into a man who was basically scared of the whole world around him. Living in a time like that could not have been the easiest thing in the world, but he found a way to escape from the life he had to face. I believe that Wright escaped through his books.