Mr. Miller's English 10 Lit Circles Wiki



Black Boy

By: Richard Wright

Paul, Morgan, Alicia, Michelle

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What is a good literature circles discussion?

You should hear us...
  • Asking and answering questions.
  • Making connections to real life situations.
  • Pulling interesting quotes from the story and discussing them.
  • Making predictions and following through with them or disagreeing.
You should see us...
  • Looking through our books and our notes.
  • Writing down important thoughts that group members come up with.


Family


(H.W. Blog #1)
An important theme in the book Black Boy is family. Richard’s family has been going through hard times. His father leaves and he doesn’t understand why. In the book the author wrote “she would call us to her and talk to us for hours, telling us that we had no father” (16). Richards’s father had left them and his mother had trouble getting money for food. At one time Richard and his brother went to an orphanage because the mother couldn’t afford to feed them. This family struggled to stay together, but they continue to work through the problems that they have.
-Michelle

(H.W. Blog # 2): FEEDBACK
Michelle, I completely agree with you on what you said in your blog. Family is a very important theme in Black boy. I still don't understand why Richard's father had walked out. Hopefully later on in the story we'll be able to figure why he left. As you said as well, the family is definetly trying their best to work through their problems and I think by the end of this book everything is going to get better in this family. As of now,
I'm hoping that nothing too bad is going to happen to Richard, especially from the way he's treated by his mother and what not. I guess we'll just have to find out as we continue to read. =]
-Morgan

(part of # 2) FEEDBACK
I agree with with Morgan and Alicia in some of their points like the themes ( hunger and the family). However, I don't agree with the relationship with his mothe. I think that the relationship with his mother was pretty good enough as he loves his mom very much. I can say that because in the story when his dad comes with the strange lady once, he was defending his mom by yelling and screaming at his father and the strange lady. I shows his love towards his mom as I believe. In orphan home, he misses his mom as she was staying away from them for some weeks. And when she came to take them to Arkansas, he was so happpy to see his mom. He forget to say good bye to his friends at orphan home with whim he used to play. His mom also tries to make him realize the good and bad deeds in the story. She is constantly trying to make him a good boy as he was in the wrong track at the begining of the story. So I think that this is good enough relationship between Richard and his mom.
-SUKH
per 06


(H.W Blog # 5)
Now that I have completed half of the book I realize that family is an important theme in the book. “Again, after an undetermined stretch of time, my mother announced that we were going to move, that we were going back to West Helena."(59) Richard’s family has stayed together through tough times like moving. It was hard on the family when Richard's father left the family. There were many times when the family didn't have money or food. When his mother suffered a stroke, it was hard on everyone. Richard and his brother were sent to other people’s houses while their mother was healing. Their family stuck together through the good and the bad times.
- Michelle

Racism

(H.W. blog #4)
I don't think this book has one predominant theme. I think the predominant themes are family and racism. Richard realizes how black people and white people are treated differently. He sees racism all the time throughout the book. Richard's hasn't been able to count on his family at all. They are constantly moving and have trouble with money. Richard suffers a family conflict when his uncle gets killed. He started to get used to having food and saying in one place, but when his uncle died it all changed again. They all moved to another house. Then his maother and aunt had to get jobs, so they could feed Richard and his brother. When Richard was on the train with his mother and brother he realized that black people were treated differently from white people. Richard wants to see where the white people sit on the train, but he istn't allowed. Conflicts on both racism and family come up many times in the book.
- Michelle

The time that Richard tried selling his dog; the lady at the door said that she would give him $1.00 for the dog, but she only had $0.97. Richard refused to sell Betsy because he l<3ved her too much. So the lady at the door called him a niger... so he left and when he came home

Perserverance


(H.W. Blog # 2): FEEDBACK
Michelle, I completely agree with you on what you said in your blog. Family is a very important theme in Black boy. I still don't understand why Richard's father had walked out. Hopefully later on in the story we'll be able to figure why he left. As you said as well, the family is definetly trying their best to work through their problems and I think by the end of this book everything is going to get better in this family. As of now,
I'm hoping that nothing too bad is going to happen to Richard, especially from the way he's treated by his mother and what not. I guess we'll just have to find out as we continue to read. =]
-Morgan

(H.W. Blog # 2) FEEDBACK
*Morgan, I think that you're right about the fact that Richard is living a very tough life. He doesn't have the best relationship w/ his mom or dad... I feel that once Richard, his brother and his mom get settled, the family will feel more at ease with the whole sitution. Once the mom gets a steady job and starts earning some money, the family will be more calm and relaxed. Maybe we will figure out why the dad left and more of Richard's brothers opinion on what he thought about his dad leaving. I really liked how you mentioned the fact that just because Richards black- he thinks that he can't live as well as whites... but he can.
- Sooner or layder we will figure out the truth about things... I hope that in the coming up chapters everything will turn out ok.
-Alicia <3


Summaries of what was discussed on discussion days:

Discussion day one
Discussion day two
Discussion day three

Make this a heading for An ongoing list of questions/reactions/responses related to the daily reading


Make this a heading for evidence from text that is related to various themes in the book


Make this a heading for list of vocabulary words from the book


Homework Blogs

Note from Mr. Miller: You all present some interesting ideas about important themes - I'd like to see all of your group members participate. You mention family and hunger. First family, what kind of family is Richard's? How is his family a product of their society? Do you think Richard is trying to illustrate the difficulties of keeping a family together in a racially hostile environment? How does this impact his identity? When considering hunger, think about references he makes to other kinds of hunger - or yearning - he has, not just about food. Keep posting.

(H.W. Blog #1)
An important theme in the book Black Boy is family. Richard’s family has been going through hard times. His father leaves and he doesn’t understand why. In the book the author wrote “she would call us to her and talk to us for hours, telling us that we had no father” (16). Richards’s father had left them and his mother had trouble getting money for food. At one time Richard and his brother went to an orphanage because the mother couldn’t afford to feed them. This family struggled to stay together, but they continue to work through the problems that they have.
-Michelle

(H.W. Blog # 2): FEEDBACK
Michelle, I completely agree with you on what you said in your blog. Family is a very important theme in Black boy. I still don't understand why Richard's father had walked out. Hopefully later on in the story we'll be able to figure why he left. As you said as well, the family is definetly trying their best to work through their problems and I think by the end of this book everything is going to get better in this family. As of now,
I'm hoping that nothing too bad is going to happen to Richard, especially from the way he's treated by his mother and what not. I guess we'll just have to find out as we continue to read. =]
-Morgan

(H.W. Blog #1)
In the book Black Boy, Richard is living a very tough life. He doesn’t have the best relationship with his mother and his father walked out on his family. So I think that a theme in the book should be family. Richard’s mother beats him constantly because he is always getting himself into trouble. Richard just doesn’t seem to know the difference between what is right and wrong. Richard believes that since he is black, he can’t live as well as whites. He happens to be poor, and the money that he makes he can’t hold onto because it gets stolen all of the time. So another important theme in the book is hunger. Since Richard was so poor, he got upset with the whites who were more wealthy and thought that they don’t have to work nearly as he does to make money. I think that later on in the book Richard is going to keep making the same mistakes, he’ll keep getting beat by his mother, and then I‘m sure he will end up getting very hurt.
-Morgan
To use the discussion feature, click the discussion tab at the top of the page and post a question or response to a question

(H.W. Blog # 2) FEEDBACK
*Morgan, I think that you're right about the fact that Richard is living a very tough life. He doesn't have the best relationship w/ his mom or dad... I feel that once Richard, his brother and his mom get settled, the family will feel more at ease with the whole sitution. Once the mom gets a steady job and starts earning some money, the family will be more calm and relaxed. Maybe we will figure out why the dad left and more of Richard's brothers opinion on what he thought about his dad leaving. I really liked how you mentioned the fact that just because Richards black- he thinks that he can't live as well as whites... but he can.
- Sooner or layder we will figure out the truth about things... I hope that in the coming up chapters everything will turn out ok.
-Alicia <3

(H.W. Blog #1) FEEDBACK
The theme about the book Blackboy so far is that the family is relatively poor and the mother seems to be going form job to job trying to get a descent amount of money so she can support her family. The father has left and that seems to be the biggest struggle for the family, as they complete each obstackle they are given; nothing seems to break them apart... even the fact that Richard seems to be having some difficulty on why his father has left and if he will ever come back.
-Alicia <333

(part of # 2) FEEDBACK
I agree with with Morgan and Alicia in some of their points like the themes ( hunger and the family). However, I don't agree with the relationship with his mothe. I think that the relationship with his mother was pretty good enough as he loves his mom very much. I can say that because in the story when his dad comes with the strange lady once, he was defending his mom by yelling and screaming at his father and the strange lady. I shows his love towards his mom as I believe. In orphan home, he misses his mom as she was staying away from them for some weeks. And when she came to take them to Arkansas, he was so happpy to see his mom. He forget to say good bye to his friends at orphan home with whim he used to play. His mom also tries to make him realize the good and bad deeds in the story. She is constantly trying to make him a good boy as he was in the wrong track at the begining of the story. So I think that this is good enough relationship between Richard and his mom.
-SUKH
per 06


no comments and I liked how you responded to one another. Don't forget to post comments on other groups' pages. Remember to use your discussions (both in class and on these pages) as a way to go below the surface of the story and plot. Ask yourself why Richard chooses to share the details of his life that he does to the reader? What can we learn about human nature and about people in general? Keep up the thinking. (feel free to delete my comments after everyone has reviewed and considered them)

Alicia, I think you have written some good ideas about the theme in Black Boy. I have also noticed that the mother often changes jobs. I agree that the father leaving was a changing moment for the family. This family definately sticks together. I wonder if their family will ever settle down in one place. The family is constantly moving and never settling in one place.

(Blog # 3:)
One of my post it notes from Black Boy was "Why did Richard freak out so much when he went with his uncle to get water for the horse?" I thought that Richard's actions were really strange and I'm thinking that he must have had something really bad happen to him in the past. Reading about all of the things that he was trying to do to get himself out and to shore seemed pretty insane. Maybe later on in the story something else will come up dealing with water and give us an explanation why. Another one of my post it notes was "Why does the mother get so angry when Richard reads?" In the book the mother gets very upset with Richard when she finds him reading. Richard sneeks places so that he is able to read without getting caught. I don't understand that at all. Even though Richard is now using words from these books that he doesn't understand, I still think that the mother should be pushing him to read instead of getting upset with him.
-Morgan :)


(Blog #3)
One of my post it notes was "Why does Richard's mother beat Richard for saying things that he doesn't understand?" Richard always says things that are bad, but he probably doesn't understand what they mean. His mother beating him for saying these things isn't working becase he continues to say them. Another one of my post it notes was "How many times will the family move?" The family moved from their original home to Tennesse, then the grandma's house and then to the Aunts house. Will they ever settle in one place? Richard likes living with his Aunt because there is food. I think that they will have to move again because the Uncle was in a lot of trouble with some people that might be after the Aunt. Will moving to another place drastically change their lives?
-Michelle

(H.W. blog #3)
The post it note i am choosing is "why is the mother so insucure about Richard?" I mean why does it seem like she doesn't believe in richard as much as she believes in her other son? I know that Richard is the oldest, but he is also very young and he doesn't always understand what he is saying. He seems like a good kid at heart, but just needs some direction; and will grow and mature as he gets older. I feel that the mother needs to be more believing and && less controlling about her kids.
Another one of my post its was "Why did Richard freak out so much when he was geetting water for the horse with his uncle?" It seems that richard has some issues from the past and will come up later in the book. He is dealing with some problems and insucurities at the moment and is a little likely to act out on something, even though its not so severe. We'll find out later in the book with whats bothering him.
-Alicia <333

(H.W. blog #4)
So far, in my opinion I think that the strongest theme so far is that Richard is having difficulties with his mom and with life issues. He seems to get more and more afraid of things throughout the book... most of his problems are those having to do with family.
He just needs some guidence and someone to guide him through; since he doesn't have a strong father figure, maybe he could use a friend.
I think that Racism is the main theme. Richard had constantly been going through jobs trying to feed his family; no one would treat him like a normal person.

- Alicia <333

(H.W. blog #4)
Now that I have completed almost half of this book, I see that this book holds many themes. I think that hunger, racism, and family are the top three themes of Black Boy. Richard was doing fine at his aunt's house with the whole food issue, but now that the whites are looking for Aunt Maggie's boyfriend, she must leave the home, so Richard is now left with no food. I have a feeling that this will be a problem for most of the rest of the book. Richard's family is trying very hard to stick together and working hard to make sure that they stay strong. Family is a very big part of this book and I feel as though Richard's family has gotten stronger throughout the book. I've also realized as getting further through reading the book that racism keeps coming up and Richard trys to figure out why everything is going on. I'm thinking that in the next few chapters, Richard is going to start figuring the whole racism thing out on his own.
-Morgan =]


Response from Mr. Miller on both posts here (Morgan and Michelle) You both correctly point out the difficulties Richard seems to be having dealing with racism and other challenges to his individuality. How does the way he's treated (by both people inside and outside of his family) affect how he is viewed by other people? You also mention hunger. Can that idea also be extended to mean something beyond just physical hunger? Is he hungry for something else? What stands in his way of achieving it? 2/14/07

(H.W. blog #4)
I don't think this book has one predominant theme. I think the predominant themes are family and racism. Richard realizes how black people and white people are treated differently. He sees racism all the time throughout the book. Richard's hasn't been able to count on his family at all. They are constantly moving and have trouble with money. Richard suffers a family conflict when his uncle gets killed. He started to get used to having food and saying in one place, but when his uncle died it all changed again. They all moved to another house. Then his maother and aunt had to get jobs, so they could feed Richard and his brother. When Richard was on the train with his mother and brother he realized that black people were treated differently from white people. Richard wants to see where the white people sit on the train, but he istn't allowed. Conflicts on both racism and family come up many times in the book.
- Michelle

(H.W. BLog 6)
After finishing Black Boy my final thoughts are the things RIchard learned and experienced. Richard moved and changed jobs often, but that didn't stop him from learning. An important theme in the book was perseverance. Richard never gave up on anything he did even though he went through many hard times. If a job didn't work out Richard would find another one. In the end RIchard saved up enough money to head north. His mother and brother were also able to go north. "Why wait until newt week or next month? If we were going, why not go at once?" (254) If Richard waits for things to happen they never happen. Richard saved enough for him and his Aunt to go. Then they will send money for his brother and mother to come. Richard's life led him to go north. In the south he wouldn't be able to do what he wanted to do. RIchard made it through the tough times, but he never gave up.
-Michelle

>>>Response from Mr. Miller to Morgan (below) and Michelle (above), Michelle, I like how you said "Richard's life led him to go north." I agree. Then you finish by saying, he made it through tough times but never gave up. Why? What is it about his character that allowed him to persevere in such a way? Morgan, you, too touch on how his character seemed to evolve and change throughout the novel to allow him to survive. Based on the fact that the ending is kind of open ended, how will he survive up north? These ideas might the basis of a good essay . I think it's interesting the book how he had to willingly give in to the oppression he faced daily, which seemed to conflict with his inner desires for independence. He's always fighting urges to speak up and act out - and he's not always successful in keeping those urges under control. Just some thoughts...

(H.W. Blog 6)
Throughout this entire book, Black Boy, Richard never gave up on anything. He always found a way to get by his troubles and rough times. At many times in the book, Richard had to move from home to home and he went through many changes. He finally had made enough money from the jobs he had so that him and his aunt could move to the north. Richard went through 4 jobs I believe and never stopped working his hardest. I thought that Richard was very strong and brave to go through what he had to go through between his family and what not. As far as themes go, there were many that were in this book. Some include racism, hunger, and family. All 3 of these themes were very important throughout the text. However, the ending of this book wasn't very clear to me. I don't think that Richard ended it right because it didn't really mention where Richard would end up doing or going. All I can really do now is wonder. After reading the entire book though, I could tell from the beginning of the book to the end, that Richard went through some major changes and learned from his mistakes. Now, he is a better person and can pretty much make it on his own.
-Morgan