The Man Who Lived Underground Essay

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In the following essay, Gounard calls "The Man Who Lived Underground" an "existentialist parable" In which the protagonist is "the symbol of loneliness and anonymity surrounding man in a materialistic and unfeeling society. "

During the summer of 1941, Richard Wright read an article in the August issue of True Detective which assumed a special significance for him. This article, "The Crime Hollywood Couldn't Believe," was about a 33-year-old man, Herbert C. Wright. Unemployed and aimless, Richard Wright's namesake had lived for more than a year in the sewers of Los Angeles. His subterranean existence had enabled him to get whatever he wished by entering stores through their sewer systems and helping himself. A close watch by the police eventually led to his arrest.

Fascinated by this story, Richard Wright noted a parallel between Herbert C. Wright's dilemma and the problems faced by the Black man in American society. Herbert...

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This section contains 1,621 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Man Who Lived Underground Study Guide
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