Black Like Me
Describe the attitude many white men seem to have about the sexuality of blacks throughout the story. What is hypocritical about this attitude? Why is it ironic? How does it dehumanize blacks?
"Black Like Me ostensibly chronicles John Howard Griffin's experiences as a black man. But he never truly experiences life as a black man; there are always too many significant differences between him and the real blacks among whom he lives. As a result, Black Like Me is an arrogant, if well- meaning, book." Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why or why not?
What techniques does Griffin use to draw the reader into his story? How does he use secondary characters to build drama and suspense?
One of the main themes of Black Like Me is that good can survive even in an environment of evil. What are some examples Griffin uses to illustrate this theme, and how do they function? Can you name at least three?
Another important theme of Black Like Me is that blacks and whites behave differently in one another's company than they do when they are amongst themselves. How does this affect Griffin's experience? What does it say about the level of understanding between the two races?
One of the functions of the story is to act as a catalog of oppression, one that lists and describes the various difficulties and injustices black Americans were routinely forced to endure during the time of Griffin's experience. What are some of these injustices and difficulties? How many of them are still in effect today?
What is the role of mirrors in Black Like Me? What do Griffin's changing responses to seeing his face in the mirror say about his perception of his own identity after he becomes a black man?
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