Tang Ferng Yee Dr.Moreno


TangFerng Yee




RichardWright’s Novel hidden message and theme,

“TheMan Who Lived Underground” by Richard Wright, is a classical storythat projects the society as a corrupt whole. An African American manescapes the police and makes in his bid to make a home in the citysewers he is transformed. Essentially, he is worn out on running andhas concluded that he should either find a hiding place or surrenderhimself to those policemen though he had not committed the crime. Hesees a sewer cover laying down on the road, with the pursuing silentgetting louder and near to him, he decided to take a jump find achance to survive underground. Although the waters were deep andfast, uncertain of the pathway to use and darkness covered his eyes,hisfear of the policemen was stronger than his fear of the water and thedarkness. As he moved forward with caution in the sewer, he realizedthat he is in peril, yet an &quotunreasonable drive&quot keeps himfrom taking off. Rather he pushes ahead, searching for a dryconcealing spot or a sheltered way out.

Themain character isFred Daniels who descents into an underground sewer in his bid toescape the policemen. A black skin tone African American&nbspmanwho had been accused of murder of a white woman that he served hewas forced into signing a confession by three unlawful and injusticepolicemen. This short story shows us the endurance of a culturecontext that is repressive being a man who had strong biblicalimplications his consciousness lures him to experience a moment ofsilence. As readers, we are Fred’s disciples in our quest to knowwhat Fred goes through in the underworld. He goes through this justto show us who he truly is, an innocent man who has been unjustlypersecuted and a victim of circumstances.

FredDaniels`s journey begin when his attempts to establish his place as acitizen in his society fail. He assumes a critical part of thestory, his is not only an instance of mixed up character but also thecenter of the story he has no personality by any stretch of theimagination, and can`t significantly recall his particular name.Throughout the story, he is more than once confused for anotherperson. The police think he is the killer, the movie theater ushersupposes he is a patron, the lady at the market supposes he is a shopworker. For reasons that are not clear, the police committed theirerror, the usher and the customer basically should not be lookingclosely and clearly, they did not consider Daniels as an individualas neither appears to notice that he is wet and possessing a scentreminiscent of the sewer, this is because he seems insignificant andthey don`t generally see him as anyone important. Due to his himbeing undetectable and unknown along these lines, he can moveuninhibitedly both underground and more.

Ashe recollects his life over the ground, Daniels makes no notice offamily or companions, and he does exclude family or companions in hisplay acting with the typewriter, the cash, or the firearm. He remainsalone watching gatherings of individuals in chapel, in a theater, atwork. He experiences the most well-known allegory for division hisrevelation of the racism and wretchedness of the above world. Theseinclude barriers between himself as well as other people he is alsoactually separated by blocks and walls from the society he watches.

Fred Daniels’s exploration of the underground world brings in asense of self-awareness, maturity and his ultimate death. Thisincluded visiting different places that he sees through chinks in thefloors of the structures above him the first is a black choirchurch.Daniels watches the choir in their white robes singing and askingGod`s kindness. As he reflects on the choir, Daniels additionallygets a look at his own circumstance, for he perceives that theseindividuals ought not to explain their right doings—they areengaging, dedicated individuals who are liable for nothing, prettymuch as he himself is an innocent person. This means that as much asthe world is against some individuals, it does not mean they are whatthey are perceived to be. The society is callous in its ways and itmay render one invisible if it chooses to.

Daniels’snext visit similarly reveals insight into his circumstance. He goesahead to the undertaker`s treating room and laughs at the thought ofwatching the inconspicuous and the preserving process. There he goesahead and takes a toolbox, light, and electric wire that offer himsome assistance with equipping his temporary shelter, a safe hollowcave that he finds in the dark underground sewer system. Those toolsnot only did they give him some help to build up his safe place, butalso helped him understand the symbolism that the tools portrayed discovery of his self-acknowledgement journey and the assistance hegets to peek on the other life above the floor of the urban city. Hestole a radio in the next scene , he wants to hear some fine music torelax instead he hears a list of news occasions, all of which proposethe silliness of war and more of the dark side of the urban societythat he used to live in.

Danielsadds this data to his developing feeling of himself and the world hehas quickly left, not behind him, but rather above him. It is throughthe radio that it dawns on Daniel that the happenings of the aboveground world and society don’t help him in living a better life,instead they are destroying his life. He has no feelings about theworld that he used to live in anymore but in his underground life hefeels the freedom and less restricted by people who are projectingracism towards his skin tone. Although racism isn’t the main themeof this novel, it’s important to know that it’s highly relatedto this story time line, African Americans still worked as slaves andlower class citizens as compared to white during those times. In thisregard, he believes that his chance of receiving a fair justice isnil in this kind of society.

Thetruth is dead the innocent can be guilty through the corrupt waysof the police’ power and rights. In nearly every chapter, FredDaniel was fighting with his pride and guilt. As he travels throughthe passages underground, his investigation of the importance ofguilt shows up much more confounded. He progressively comes tocomprehend that everybody is similarly guilty, or just as innocent.Blame does not keep him from taking instruments, sustenance, a radio,cash, or alternate things he gathers. He is unconcerned over thediscipline the kid and the watchman’s suicide due to his very ownwrong doings. He needs to keep down another giggle while the kid isbeaten for taking the radio, and trusts the beating will make the kidcomprehend the mystery of his life. However, it reached a point thatDaniels could not live with what he had done, he was filled withguilt . It is at this time that Daniels realizes that wealth ismeaningless and that this world we are intertwined in such a way thatwe are all either hunters or the hunted.

FredDaniel understands that he never committed any crime but he had toflee away to survive. &nbspThe society that he lived in is guardedby several policemen who seek easier solving case methods than acomplicated way to find out the truth. As in the early of story,those policemen accused Fred of being the murderer but the truth ishe’s not, maybe they want their job to be easier so they forced himto sign the confession paper and close the case. Fred was helplessand couldn’t fight them because he had no power and he’d signedthe confession paper. Police in his world would rather waste theirtime on forcing an innocent man to admit a crime they never didrather than going through long processes of finding out the truth andthe real wrong doer.

&nbsp Corruption is greater than truth in the society which was led by theby the 3 policemen. The leader Lawson who is the head in charge ofhis group members, Murphy and Johnson, could not be opposed they hadto obey him and follow his instructions exactly as he laid them out.Lawson told and ordered them not to question about the innocence ofFred they executed what Lawson had told them with no question.Nevertheless, they discovered and found the real killer of the whitelady however, they burned Fred’s confession and did not even tryto contact him not even to tell him about his innocence or even tryto clear his name.

Fredthinks that he has already committed the heinous act of murder and inthis regard stealing is just one of the ironic way to think stealingis doesn’t matter anymore as it cannot be compared to murder. A boywas beaten up and a watchmen committed suicide because of corruptionand abuse of power. The boy was beaten up because of a radio whichwas stolen by Fred, and the jewelry watchman committed suicidebecause he couldn’t live under the slandered name as a jewelrythief which was also stolen by Fred. &nbspAfter all, Fred couldn’ttake the guilty feeling inside him anymore, he decided to tell thetruth in order to clear the watchman’s and the boy’s names. Hewalked into the police station and exposed the truth though he knewnone of that was making sense to the policemen.

FredDaniels decided to lead Lawson, Murphy and Johnson back to hisshelter cave. They now visualized the truth and believed what FredDaniels told them. However there was a turn of events as thepolicemen though that Fred’s innocence could have made them losetheir jobs so they decided the easier way out was to kill him anderase all the evidence that may cause trouble. Lawson from the storysays , “kind always wreck things up”, after he shot Fred Danielsdead it is clear that Lawson does not regard the importance of truthespecially if the truth poses some sort of a threat to his ‘normal’life. He is a corrupt policeman and is seen to have a don’t careattitude. He is of the idea that anything or anyone that disrupts hissmooth life should be eliminated.

In conclusion, the novel basically explains how a person can identifyhimself and become self-aware in the journey of life. Many peopletend to be led by life circumstance and until then that’s when theyreact. It represents the society of today where by corruption, powerand self-love can lead to chaos in the society.


Bloom,Harold. Richard Wright. New York: Bloom`s Literary Criticism,2009. Internet resource.