Black Boy - Getting Started

Introduction:

Black Boy can be broken up into scenes with titles. For example, in Chapter 1, there are numerous scenes or related sequence of events that could easily be titled. For example, one might be: Richard Burns Down the House; another Richard Kills the Cat, and yet another Richard Hangs Out at the Saloon. The challenge is to identify a scene, visualizing the events that make up these separate, yet connected, scenes, and summarize the sequence of events. The following questions help you move forward through these events. Each should be answered and then discussed.

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” (p. 14). 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.
me” (p. 14). 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?

Your Autobiography

Begin with the earliest memory you have. What happened? What led up to it, what occurred that stands out in your memory, and what were the consequences of this event. Tell that story.

What is the most recent event in your life that stands out, that is significant or memorable? Tell that story.

This is the beginning and the end of your autobiography.


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