Amazing narrative of Wright's experience as a young black boy growing up in poverty during the turmoil of the civil rights movement of the south. Wright is a somewhat headstrong and independent boy in a dog-eat-dog environment, he has quickly discovered that no one is dependable or reliable.
Living is a somewhat abusive family it isn't white people that are antagonizing at first, but the social politics of his own family. Slowly as he grows up he realizes white people in general can be far more dangerous than he has suspected, and he must figure out how to live in deference to them while still pursuing his dreams to become a writer.
The black community has no expectations for him, the white communities expectations are only pejorative and the young communist party that he had so much hope for expects him to behave exactly like the Russian proletariat. After becoming disillusioned he decides to simply pursue his dreams.