All this is set in a context where Richard struggles with his family and the general society as he attempts towards a better life for himself. As a character in his own story, Richard displays individualism by rejecting to conform to various societal expectations, which eventually sees him forge his own path in attaining his life dreams.
In pursuing his literary dream, Richard gets faced with the society’s misconceptions about his ambition. When he writes a short story, ‘the voodoo of hell’s half-acre’, his classmates are unable to understand why he chooses to write a story and have it published (Wright 182). They are bewildered by the fact that he can on his own terms get to write and story and see to it that it gets published. This demonstrates how Richard as a person thought on his own accord. Richard also faces a hostile and unreceptive reaction from his family about writing the story. His grandmother views writing literary fiction as simply telling lies (Wright 196). His mother views his writing as a show of weakness that would eventually see him being unable to find employment. He only finds encouragement from the newspaper editor. Richard contemplates the various obstacles he has encountered through his writing and muses that had he known about them, he would have thrown away his dreams of becoming a writer. Through Richard’s desire to write a story and have it published, the reader gets to see firsthand how society can become prejudiced about one’s pursuits. However, Richard rises above this challenge and gets to see his dream unfolding. When he has his story published in the local newspaper, he gets to triumph over his family and classmates expectations of him.
Richard further faces the society when he is set to give a speech as the valedictorian of his class.