Study Help Essay Questions

1. What are the advantages (both personal and political) of autobiography as a literary form?

2. What are the implications of the title of Black Boy?

3. What does Richard’s father come to represent in Richard’s life?

4. How does a pre-individualistic society reveal itself in Granny’s household?

5. Discuss the question of love, and its lack, in Black Boy.

6. Describe the significance for Richard of Uncle Thomas, Griggs, and Shorty.

7. In what ways are folklore and the Blues relevant to Black Boy?

8. How does Richard treat white people as opposed to blacks? Is there a different judgment between his attitudes to each group?

9. What is the similarity in Richard’s reactions to Miss Simon and Mrs. Moss? Explain why he reacts this way to them.

10. How are Granny and Addie responsible for Richard’s attitudes? How do they contribute to his becoming a rebel and an artist?

11. In what ways is Richard Wright typical of American writers?

12. How does Black Boy express an ideology in the incidents described? What is that ideology?

13. What is the social significance of the fight between Richard and Harrison? What does the fight teach Richard about racism?

14. How does Richard look upon himself? At what points does he disapprove of his own actions, and why?

15. Why was Black Boy a landmark in black literature?