Black Boy By Richard Wright: Essay Analysis
What causes cruelty?
Cruelty is an intentional and “an atrocious act of barbarity” (Hieover 23) shown to others, especially to others who are in a weaker position, through verbal, mental or physical assault to inflict pain and harm onto them. It is a total willful behavior. We all suffer from some degree of cruelty in our everyday lives. There may be many causes of cruelty. A person may be born with a cruel nature. A father or mother may be cruel in nature and these genes are passed onto the next generation. Sometimes, a person may get so frustrated through the hardships he sees in his life that he starts taking out that frustration on others, which is an attitude that makes him cruel in the eyes of others. Other causes of cruelty may include psychological disturbances, stress, depression, anxiety, and selfish attitude. All these factors make significant changes to a person’s behavior and thus make him cruel.
Why do people inflict pain on others?
Some people like to watch others suffer. They like to see others in pain and anguish. This satisfies their souls. This soothes them. Although this is not normal behavior and must be considered as abnormal by the psychologists, yet almost every one of us are, to some degree, such cruel and selfish that we like to see others feel inferior to us. This has become a social problem that people want to make others respect them for no reason and consider them their subordinates. Such people do not have faith in God and have forgotten then they will have to stand accountable to Him one day. In short, it is the short-lived and fake happiness in the search of which people like inflicting pain on others.
Is it out of anger and hatred, or for other reasons?
Yes, there may be many reasons for cruelty. Anger and hatred are two of them. When one feels angry, he does not like to see others happy. When one is under some sort of hardship, he wants to transfer than tension to all around him, no matter the others are his own family, friends, neighbors, kids, or even animals and plants. Also, when one hates somebody, one finds all the reasons to justify his being cruel to him. Cruelty, however, is never justifiable. It is only the inner self of the person that gets contentment, and no one else is happy. Moreover, dissatisfaction toward life also results in cruel behavior because when one feels that he is not getting what others around him are enjoying, this annoys him and thus he becomes cruel. This dissatisfaction may be regarding job, residence, spouse, children, friends, neighbors, and many significant others. Another reason is the reward that one gets from his superiors as a result of showing cruelty (Flegel 42).
What’s the effect of cruelty on the person who is cruel?
The effect that cruelty can have on the cruel person is that it makes him happy and contented. He is pleased when his frustrations are out on some other person. Another effect is that the success that cruelty offers to the cruel person and the results he sees in the person to whom he has inflicted pain makes him even crueler. His behavioral patterns strengthen their roots and he becomes firm in his atrocious behavior. Such a person is in fact in search of short-term happiness which he gains by watching others suffer, and thus when he receives that happiness, he tries the tricks on some other person in some other way. However, the cruel person can never get long-lived happiness and he will stay unhappy and depressed throughout his life because his means of getting delighted are wrong. A cruel person becomes contented with small chunks of happiness but remains far off from real happiness that God gives to us when we spread ease and pleasure among others.
On the victim?
The person on whom the pain or harm has been inflicted suffers significantly. There is nothing worse than mental tension. Physical wounds heal with time but mental abuse never heals. There is no cure for mental abuse or if there is any, it is very slow. The wronged person suffers from an inferiority complex. He undergoes constant shame and guilt. His inner self breaks. He develops psychological disturbances that ruin his life. Inflicted pain disturbs his relationships and family life. Another bad effect of cruelty on the victim is that the victim may himself become cruel. Not only he but those around him or the bystanders who watch cruelty happen learn how to be cruel. This is the worst effect that cruelty can inflict on society and thus, society becomes at stake by this dangerous attitude.
Flegel, Monica. Conceptualizing Cruelty to Children in Nineteenth-Century England: Literature, Representation, and the NSPCC. USA: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2009.
Hieover, Harry. “Opinions on Cruelty.” Stable Talk and Table Talk: Or, Spectacles for Young Sportsmen, Volume 1. USA: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1846.