Black Boy – Part 1 - Southern Nights

Chapters 1 and 2


Chapter 1

Getting into the Story

1a) Explain what was done to Richard for burning the house down. b) Explain why this was or wasn’t fair.
2. What was the nature of Richard’s relationship with his father before he left the family?
3. Explain why Richard equates hunger with his father.
4. How did Richard win the “right to the streets of Memphis”?

Inference
5. Richard says, …”this new hunger baffled me”. What was so new about it?
6. What creative method does his mother use to help him deal with the hunger?
7. At age 6, Richard became an alcoholic. How did it happen?

Chapter 2

1. Why does Granny make Ella, the teacher leave the boarding house?
2. During his stay at Aunt Maggie and Uncle Hoskins, Richard would steal dinner rolls
and hide them in his pockets and around the house. Explain why he did this.
3. What incident occurs that forces Richard and his family, as well as Aunt Maggie, to
leave quickly, and move back to Granny’s house?
4. a) Why does Richard decide not to sell his dog Betsy, and b) what is ironic about this
decision?

Brief Essay
5. It is clear at this point that Richard’s lack of stable home life and his constant hunger
are two major themes in the story. Discuss this.