Black Boy

by: Richard Wright

Suggested Essay Topics

1. Describe the evolution of Richard’s attitude toward white people. At what points do we detect a shift in his attitude?

2. In what ways does Wright, as an adult writing his autobiography in retrospect, color the description of events and experiences as they unfold?

3. Discuss Richard’s thoughts on stealing. How does he justify it? Does his justification of stealing imply a justification for the violent way his family treats him as a child?

4. Richard’s mature character is formed both by the kind of knowledge only gained through experience in the world and by the kind of knowledge only gained through reading books. With respect to Richard, does one of these types of knowledge seem more important than the other? Why or why not?

5. What role does hunger play in the autobiography? How does Richard view hunger at the end of the novel? Has his attitude changed?