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The Library Card – Four Levels of Interactions | Flax Golden Tales

The Library Card – Four Levels of Interactions | Flax-Golden Tales

The Library Card - Four Levels

The Library Card – Richard Wright, USA (1908-1960)

Literal Comprehension

One day Richard Wright was reading a magazine. There he finds that H.L. Mencken was severally criticized. H.L. Mencken was a white writer. He was criticized by the white editor. The narrator wants to know the reason behind criticizing H.L. Mencken. He wants to read the books written by H.L. Mencken. Being a Negro, he did not have a library card. Therefore, he took the help of a kind man, Mr. Flak gave him the card of his wife. The narrator forged the white man’s name.

He took two books from the library. Both books were written by H.L. Mencken. They were “A book of prefaces” and “prejudices’. After reading H.L. Mencken, he understands why he was hated by white people. H.L. Mencken had written about the equality between white and black. Being impressed by the writing of H.L. Mencken, he read many other books by different writers. Reading the books widens his knowledge. He learned English language. Finally, he went to the North and writes about the misery of Negro people.


“The library card” focuses on the importance of education. The narrator is very ignorant in the beginning. Reading of the several books by different writers widens his mind and knowledge. After reading, he understands the racial discrimination. Racial discrimination is another important issue of the essay. He knows that black people are suppressed and they have deprived of education, rights, freedom, justice, and many other opportunities. He learns to struggle against white domination. The narrator knows the ways of fighting. In one place of the essay, he writes “If I fought openly, I would die and I didn’t want to die”. He didn’t want to die. He wanted to become immortal by writing the feelings, experiences, suffering, and pain of Negro people.

Critical Thinking

The essay realistically presents the racial discrimination between white and black. The essay also advocates the importance of education. But, some of the ideas are unconvincing in the essay. In the essay, it is said that the black boy is ignorant. But he reads the magazine very critically. How can he read newspaper editorial critically?


After reading the essay, I understand a very important lesson that there is nothing beyond our reach. Richard Wright had a strong desire to read. He did not have a library card. Bur Mr. Falk helped him by giving a library card. He read many books by different writers and became a famous writer himself. The essay teaches me the value of education.

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