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The Power Of One
“Inclusion, not exclusion, is the key to survival.” What does this mean? To say the least, the definition is clearly stated in The Power of One, as well as Richard Wright’s Black Boy. Actually, both these works resemble each other by both having many types of isolation. Initially, P.K. in The Power of One and Richard in Black Boy are isolated by members of their family. Subsequently, they are both excluded by society because of their backgrounds. Ultimately, they are excluded within their own races because of their actions throughout their stories.
To begin with, Richard Wright and P.K. were both isolated by their families. P.K., on one hand, suffered through deaths and losses. P.K. was named after his father, who died early in P.K.’s life. The next two deaths came from his mother and Nanny. Losses continued when Doc went back to Germany, and a camp guard killed Piet. Even when he picked up all his strength as a young man, his losses continued when Maria, his love, was also killed. It just kept on adding up, and P.K. kept taking blow by blow. Richard on the other hand, suffered isolation through abandonment. His father left when he was young, and every day his mother would work, leaving him alone. When his mother got too sick to take care of him, Richard stayed with Granny, who totally ignored him because of his religious beliefs. Like P.K., Richard dealt with isolation every day of his life. This exclusion played a major part in both their lives, making it hard to survive.
Next, Richard and P.K. both suffered exclusion through their backgrounds. In the white-dominated society, Richard was looked down upon as a piece of trash. He would be excluded from jobs with decent salaries, ability to live safely, rights to freedom. In Richard’s time, it was horrible to be African-American. For P.K., it wasn’t much different. He was English, and the Afrikaners in his society hated him. The English took over and governed their territory. Therefore, both P.K. and Richard were both discriminated against because of their backgrounds. P.K. was even whipped while hanging upside-down! It’s amazing that something like that occurred.
Lastly, P.K. and Richard went through exclusion because of the way they acted. P.K. was a friend to the blacks, which was very uncommon. P.K. even started a Saturday school so that they would be able to read and teach throughout their tribes. Richard, on the other side, questioned everything. When others would have to scurry out of the way for a white person, Richard questioned the act. When he talked to white people, he didn’t speak with the obedient respect that the others of his race did. This added to the amount of exclusion Richard went through, the same with P.K.
To conclude, all this exclusion that Richard and P.K. experienced was somewhat similar. Although there are many more similarities, these were just some of them. To go back to the quote, “Inclusion, not exclusion, is the key to survival.” Well, many will argue that both Richard and P.K. survived. In fact, they did. Richard became a successful writer and P.K. survived the mass beatings and searches for him. However, in the end, they both were included. Richard was accepted in Chicago and it drove him to his career, while P.K. was accepted by his friends, who called him “The Rainmaker.” It’s very probable that if these inclusions didn’t occur, Richard and P.K. wouldn’t make it. All in all, throughout The Power of One and Black Boy stated the exclusions and isolations that many young boys experienced.
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