Mr. Miller's English 10 Lit Circles Wiki

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Black Boy By, Richard Wright

Group Members: Lucas, Jenn, John, Joe

Group Discussions:
#1 Discussion- Today in our discussion we talked about our initial feelings of the story and some very popular topics were about the cat, the beatings of Richard, hunger, mom sending the kids to the orphanage, Richard defends himself, and his father leaving the family. The quotes all had to do mostly with these topics too. Some questions that came up were, why did his father leave? Will Richard remain t home? Etc... The overall conversation was very good because the topics that came were then followed with all of our responses on each. Everyone definitely looked at something different or heard something they didn’t know before.

#2 Discussion-


Theme #1- Poverty/ Hunger = Blue
Theme #2 – Family= Red
Theme #3 – Race Issues= Green

Homework Blogs-
2/1/07- Blog #1

The theme I have chosen is hunger because as the book goes deep into chapter one Richard starts to be hungry and unable to get food. Richard didn‘t understand why he wasn‘t getting food until his father never came home and he realized that his father was making the money to pay for it and he‘s never coming back. Richard and his brother were hungry until his mother got a job working for other (white) families. Once she got a job she was able to get them food, but now he has to sit home alone everyday while his mother works.

Luke, its good how you point out some of the important events that take place related this larger theme. Here's another question for you and your group to consider: What kinds of hunger does Richard have? And how does his hunger both help and hurt him as he grows up? - Mr. Miller

(A response to Luke Danker, period four group 2)
I agree with Luke for many reasons. I think that Richard talks a lot about being hungry by the end of chapter one and how he isn’t able to find food. I also think that this falls under the category of poverty. In the beginning of the book the family was just fine because they had the father to help support them, but now that the father left they have nothing. I don’t think that Richard understands that just yet because he’s too young. Now that he’s in an orphanage with his brother because his mother can’t provide for them he understands. He’s scared and doesn’t know what to do. I’m not sure if the brother knows what’s happening exactly but Richard isn’t speaking to him. I think that this also ties in with a family theme. Richard should know that he should stay with his brother and everything will work out for the best. He can’t leave his family because they’re all he has and if he loses them he has nothing. This book has so many different themes tied into it. Finally, I think that Richard’s jealousy gets the better of him. He doesn’t have to be white to be rich; he just has to work hard for it. Even though he thinks that if you’re white your life is great. When his mother found a job working for a white person Richard has been angry about it. His mother knew that it was best for her to take as many jobs as she could so she could get her children out of the orphanage and take care of them. I think that this book will turn out to be very interesting and I can’t wait to see what happens.

-Jennifer with two N's said...
So far as I have been reeding Black Boy I have noticed and found out many interesting things about Richard and his family. I already new from reeding the pasages in class that he was a very,very young boy and was pretty obvious gullible because he took what his father Nathan said serious about the kitten Richard lives a very very tough life he doesn’t get a long with his mother and he’s father walked out on them. He struggles 2 get food but somhow all the litle money that he has it seems to get robbed from him from a bunch a boys. I kept thinking in my bed that at one point in the story Richard send that he resents watching the white families digging into their plentiful food. I think that Richard even though he is at a young age thinks that because he is black white people have it better in life. I feel as though Richards thinks that getting through life is a bigger struggle for black people thank for white people and they always have to work harder for what they want to get. A problem started to occur with Richard in chapter one, I found out that he is an alcoholic, when his mother finds out not only is she furious but she beats Richard to beg for him to stop the nonsense that he has brought into their family. As I am reading this book I notice many serious problems occurring in Richards’s family and I predict that something is going to happen to Richard later on in the story.

Joe Sierejko Said……
There are many themes in Black Boy that are common for some in everyday life. One is that Richard, the main character, has problems in his family (He fights with his mother and has no father.). He also seems to have a problem between knowing right and wrong. An example would be burning the curtains or killing the cat. It was probably from being beaten constantly by his mother. An issue that Richard has to deal with is being poor. He hated white people for it, thinking that it was harder for black people to make money. I can't really make a prediction for what's going to happen next, but I hope the book will keep me interested

Note from Mr. Miller: You all present some interesting ideas about important themes. 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 your ideas.

Also, try not to dwell on individual events - like the killing of the cat - too much and lose sight of the big picture Wright is presenting in the book. Start to try and figure out what Richard is learning about the world around him. How has the world treated him? How does this affect his development? ~Miller

John ~>
From what I have read I think Richard believes anything anybody says. For instance, his father said that he should kill the cat and he actually did. Richard’s life was always hard, he and his mother don’t get along very good and his father left. He never seems to get good luck. He’s always is hungry and with the very little bit of money he has it always seems to get soled or lost. I think he believes white people live a better life because he experiences something like this at such a young age. He could probably picture the white family getting everything and since he’s black he doesn’t get that kind of stuff. He feels like he has to work for what he wants and other people don’t. It seems like everything just keeps getting worse for him as the book goes on. For example, I found out that he is an alcoholic, when his mother finds out she is very angry and she beats Richard to beg for him to stop the nonsense that he has been bringing into their family.

You're right Richard does believe almost any thing anybody says and most of the time he reacts to it, but I think that is some what not his fault just because of his brutal life style. Also I think that’s crazy that he is an alcoholic and he's sooo young , WOW I can't wait to read the rest of the book ;)

2-6-07 Blog #2

I think that it was very unusual when Richard killed the cat because people usually listen to there parents but when they say something that involves sarcastic thoughts they are usually shook off and used to explain how someone feels but not really to do so. This occurred when Richard’s father said to kill the kitten really meaning to get rid of it. But, I was not sure if Richard was trying to prove to his dad that what he says he will do. I was wondering if his mother was a slave to the white family or just a nanny, since this book was taking place when discrimination toward African Americans still existed heavily.

So Far I have picked to read Katherine’s response from group four period six. I agree with her response because we both get the same message which is hunger and I have the same idea about the father being the provider for the family. Also now that he father has left they Richards’s family goes hungry at many times because they are poor and it is hard at many times for them. I agree with what she said about the family needs to stick together all the time and they will get through their struggle and fears. -Jenn with Two N's

Matt T P-6

I am agreeing with what Luke has to say about what Richard did to the kitten. I too found that he taking his dad literally was very strange. I know that when I was little I never took what my parents serious, I also ended up getting the belt but that’s a different story...Anyway when Richard's father said to kill the cat he probably didn’t even sound like he meant it. I think he just did that to try and make his father happy, or to impress him. I do not think that Richard's mother was a slave. She was probably just taking care of those people to make some money, even though that was around the time of racism.

2-8-07 Blog #3

P. 4 John M
Post one:
I wonder what happened to the father. Will Richard ever see him again? I like Richard's mind. He seems very curious about all types of things. Like for example, When he was wondering how the white fluffy curtains would look like with straws if fire under them. Page 1-3

Post Two:
Page 18-19
He’s put into a hard decision. He’s mother needs the groceries but, he keeps getting beat up when he goes. I don’t know what I would do if I was him. I think there was no other choice then to go back and fight back. I also think he would get some anger out that would make him feel better.

Jenn with Two N's
Post one- I wonder as to why Richards’s father left?
Post Two- I predict that Richard is going to runaway from the orphanage because he is going through such a hard time with the hunger issue and his mom basically dumping him in the orphanage. If Richard doesn’t runaway I think at least something is going to happen with Richard.

2-9-07 Blog #4

Joe S-
So far, from what I've read, I think that the main themes are based on culture and family. On the train ride, his mother was trying to explain how he would be called "colored" when he was older. Richard didn't understand what she meant, but that was because of his race, and his mother, I'm sure had a lot of hard times growing up as an African American. The family side of things had to do with how he was always beaten when he did something wrong. Being beaten so much may have given a false idea on right and wrong. That was probably why he killed the cat.

John M ~>
Now that I am half way through the book my thoughts about the theme are still the same. One thing in the book that doesn’t seem to change his Richard always getting beat up. I think the theme of the story is hunger and raciestem. The conflict shows that there are all different types of people out there and you never know who your going to come across. I think hunger is going to play a big role in the following chapters because maybe it will drive him to do something crazy. He’s just starting to realize what raciestem is and he starting to adjust. Most people in my group thinks that killing the cat was important to the story. I think that it had nothing to do with anything and that it wouldn’t be machined in the story again.

Jenn With two N's-
After reading almost half of my book I am still getting a general idea of the same theme that I had in the beginning of the book. The main theme I was getting from this book was hunger and racisum. Im more on the hunger side because as the book goes on I am getting different views of the racisum. While reading Black Boy I knew write from when Richards dad left his family that hunger would be serious problem. It was, after Richards father left he had to ask people for money and getting money and food was always a problem for him and his family. When Richard plans to pick up his things and leave his family it didn't come to a shock to me at all, Richard gets beaten all of the time and is always starving for food. The life Richard lives isn't fair at all, the theme is mainly about hunger but there are many problems occuring throughout the book that make me think the theme as more to it than just hunger.


After reading about half of the book I think that the literature still is based on two major topics, racism and hunger. Hunger is talked about just about every page from Richard asking people (his father) for money or just his mother working to make a few dollars to feed her family for a few days. I think that Richard is learning more about the difference between whites and blacks at the time but not completely. He appears to be gravitation towards black friends more then white, but im not sure if he knows why. The author has inner- twined events in the book that have to do with both topics and that’s why I think he is moving toward these topics as the books reference.

Blog #5 2-26-07

The theme of starvation and poverty come up in Black Boy very often and in the book when Richards mother becomes to ill to work the family must move through a series of apartments in an attempt to meet the rent payments. This has been a problem since square one and it has only gotten worst since Richards father left and didn’t leave anything. I think that this is going to remain happening until Richard gets a job or his mother begins to make more money.

Joe Sierejko-
The theme for this story revolves around a disfunctional family. The problems in Richard's family have to do mainly with him being beaten. This theme extends from the very being of the book to now. He had a fear of being hit so much that he hid under the bed after he made that crude comment to his grandmother while she was giving him a bath. Another peice of this was him being an alcoholic. The fact that he started drinking at such a young age is mindboggling, not to mention the fact that he got away with it. his father also left him, leaving them nothing, a clear gesture that said that he didn't care what happened to them. From the blogs I've read from other students, I've heard that Black Boy is about poverty and starvation, which is true, and if I had to pick a second theme, one of those would be my next pick.

I have now finished all of part two and one in Black Boy, I have read some pretty shocking passages and problems that occured that were very sad in my opinion. The theme to me is still hunger but it is a different kind of hunger its not a hunger just for food but for things in life as well. Richards mother ended up getting very sick to the point where Richard and his brother had to move away with family that he did not know he even had. Richard chose to live with his Uncle Clark and was insisted to start a new semester in school. Richards education is not high at all, he has an erge i think to learn and actually accomplish things in life. Also making money for himself while living with his grandmother was always a problem. Richard wasn't allowed to work on saturdays becuase of a relgious matter for church. Richard needed money because at school he was never able to buy lunch or eat at all with the other kids. I see "hunger" in these situations, he has a hunger and erge to make money and the chance to do good in school. It's hard for Richard to get the things he wants in life. When I think of hunger I do think of food and being starved but I also see hunger as a want something that you need to have to surrvive in life not just referring to food. For example Richard going to school, he has a hunger to catch up in his studys or even to get a job so he can have enough money just so he can eat through the day and have enough energy to surive and be able to do the things he needs to. Richard dosen't get any help in life everything he does is on his own and i mean everything that comes to Richard is a struggle not because he isnt trying but becuase of the family and envirnment he is growing up in.

Jenn with Two Ns-
In Black boy i have finished reading part two of my book and am half way through part three. The theme to me is more so of racisum and how it is okay and it is just excepted back in that time. It seems to me that Richard dosen't really defend him self when the N word is thrown at him or he more so excepts the fact and it is what it is. I dont understand why black people as a community dont fight for what is right and should no that these racial slurs arent right and shouldnt be used. I see that the book almost is a lesson and it is comparing to their time and ours and how different the two worlds can compare. In my opinion hunger was a big part of the theme but more or less hunger isnt as big as a problem as it was in part one of the book. When Richard got his new job as a boy who cleans and does all the chores around the house for a white family it seems to me he is almost treated as a slave but not quite. Just overall to the racisum is something that is overlly excepted in their world but i predict in further on in the book that Richard is going to do or say something to defend how he feels when the N words gets thrown at him or he is being reffered to as the N word.

John M.
I have just finished reading the third part of the story. I the biggest theme of them all is racism. No matter what theme anyone says, racism is that most talked about theme. It seems to me that Richard doesn’t really defend him self when the N word gets used at him. He more so excepts the fact and it is what it is. I don’t understand why black people as a community don’t fight for what is right and should no that these racial slurs aren’t right and shouldn’t be used. I think maybe that were afraid that people would get killed. He is a tough kid and he learned that lesson by his mother. When he went to go get his food from the market he got jumped. His mother sent him back out there to fight. I think that was Richards fist good deal of confidence. I think by the end of the story, racism is still going to be the biggest factor in his life.

#6 post
John M.
My closing thoughts to “ Black Boy” is that Richard learned a lot of lessons. First I will start off with some important themes that went on through out the story. One of them was hunger. Hunger had a lot to do with it because when people are hunger they get driven in to do things that they usually don’t do. Like I think when Richard killed his cat. I think he was hunger that he didn’t really even no what he was doing. Anther important theme was Racism. I saw all different kind of racisms in the story. Richard saw it physical and mentally. But it seem to not bother him as much as I thought. I think Richard was very smart at times and he grew up very fast. I enjoyed the story but, I didn’t like the ending to much. It didn’t really give any clues on what is going to happen to Richard next. In the last section I read in the story, Richard keeps getting hired and then fired. I think he went throw 4 jobs. The quote that stuck out to me most was when Richard says the white owners like a uneducated black man that would lie rather then a educated black man that would lie. That to me shocked me because I thought it would be the other way around. I guess that’s the way it was back then. I think Richard is now grown up enough to carry him self on his own now.