.Poverty: Richard and his family never lived in good conditions. Then his father left the family and became a farmer which also wern't very good living conditions.

.Family: Richard has always had problems with his family. With the abuse he gets from his parents and the conditions he is forced to live in.

Ideas/thoughts/responses
After reading this book I can conclude that the main theme in this book is racism. Racism was the theme that seemed to come up in ever chapter of this book. Towards the end of the book there were many examples of racism directed to black people. I feel this was the main theme because, Richard was the main character, and he had to deal with it a lot. He saw a lot, heard a lot, and went though a lot. Thought out the whole story the “N” word shows up very much. One example that happened toward the end of the book is that Olin, and the white employees of one of the competing optical shop try to start a fight between Richard and Harrison just for their entertainment. Another way of racism is that blacks are not permitted to borrow books from the public library. Richard is smart though and finds away around that. Racism showed up all the time in the book and never seemed to stop. That is why I feel it is the main theme in this story. (Eric R) Response from Mr. Miller (3-7-07) >> Eric, you seem to hit on an important aspect of the book. Now, I challenge you to think about this embedded racism and how it affected Richard's life. What did it do to him as a person? How did he have to adapt to survive, and how did that impact his humanity or sense of being a human? Some thoughts as you consider writing your paper...

Though out this book, Richard is a very independent boy. He is always trying to do things on his own and always making his own decisions. One part of this story that really shows that Richard is trying to be independent is when he gets into a gang fight with the white boys. He gets stuck with a broken bottle behind his ear and is bleeding badly. But he didn’t want to show his mother so he tries to clean it up by himself with a towel. But his head bled too much and needed medical help. Even though he didn’t want to tell his mother he had to because he would end up really hurt. ( Eric R)
Racism is also really a main theme in this book. There are many racist comments that go around to not only black people but also white people. They don’t get a long at all and they always seem to want to kill each other. The mother makes Richard feel that white people are terrible people and that they are out to make his life miserable. With that kind of attitude Richard will always hate whites and never think of them as trying to help, but as the enemy. There would be a lot of battles in the neighborhood that would happen and they would be bloody and. The roundhouse was the neighborhood boundaries for white and black gangs. (Eric R)

I feel that one of this book’s main theme would be having a family. This book is all about a family. There is a boy Richard, his mom, and brother. Thoughtout the book they can't seem to catch a break. They are living in a tough world right now and things just don't seem to be going there way. The father was the parent that brought the food to the table. Ever since he left, Richard and his brother arnt getting anything to eat. Since the mother cannot afford taking care of her two children and herself, Richard and his brother get put into an orphanage. Being away from the person you love and never getting to see them is very tough for any child. The mother is trying to earn money so the family can move to Arkansas with her sister and start a new life. (Eric R.)

After reading Black Boy, I believe the main theme is racism. It is a constant, reccuring idea that shows up in the book. It seems like wherever Richard goes, he is always treated harshly because of his color. In some instances, it makes him quit certain jobs because the racism is so bad. In order to get around that, he eventually ends up going north to Chicago to see if the racism isn't as bad up there. I believe the racism had a very important effect on Richard, and no doubt it helped mold him into the person he is today. One event that happens at the end of the story that deeply changes him is the fight between Richard and Harrison. Richard didn't want to do it to start with, and after the fight they both hated each other and the white men that put them up to it. It makes me wonder how Richard himself now thinks of whites or does he still hate them as much as he did back then. The other theme that I see is family. For his entire life, or throughout the book, has never had a very good family life. In the beginning his father leaves, which forces the family to move. For the majority of the book they are always moving. When's Richard's mother gets sick, it's very devastating. Richard and his family live with his Grandma most of the time, and that's where another problem comes up. It's something that spaces Richard from his family even more, and that's the arguement of the church and God. His Grandmother and Aunt hate him for not believing in God, and think that he is horrible. That combined with the racism Richard is always dealing with must have been ultimately why Richard decided to move to Chicago. This is why I think the two biggest themes are racism and family. -Mike

One of the themes that I found in Black Boy so far is family. It seems that the main character, Richard, has a very difficult family. His father left his family, leaving Richard, his mother, and his brother all alone. His mother is forced to get a job, and most days Richard and his brother just spend days doing nothing at the house. Occasionaly, his mother will bring him and his brother to work. Since they don't have alot of money, it's hard to get a good amount of food. In that sense, another theme could be hunger. Most days, Richard's mother just leaves them bread and tea for the day until she gets back. Their lives are very difficult, but they seem to be getting by. Hopefully the family will get some sort of support, money-wise. -Mike

Response: I think Mike had a good point. They are not making ends meet, and with the father out of the picture, they are not making as much money as they used to. The kids are really desprate to get food, and do some pretty desprate things. If you keep reading, you'll see how desperate they are and what they have to settle for. I wonder if they will ever be able to live a regular life and not have to worry about food every day. I hope they will be ok in the end. His mom is thinking about moving in with her sister, and that will be better for the family.
-Will J.

Response to Mike's Post:
I agree with Will J, Mike did have a good point with what he wrote, and for the most part he was correct with everything. Richard's family is just getting ever more poor now that his father is gone, and it is hard to feed the family. Richard's mother is considering moving in with other people like her sister and mother until they get more money, which I think is a good choice. I hope that anyone in Richard's family would help in their time of need, especially in a situation like they are in, with their finances not being good. I predict in the story that their life will get better, and they possibly will move into a nicer area into a better place.
-Will B.
Period 6

So far this story reminds me of the book "A child called It." The book was about a child with abusive family and the child's struggle in life. So far thats similar to this story, how the child has abusive parents, and many other family issues. In "child called it" what eventually happened was the character tried to run away from home. I bet Richard in this story will try to run away soon in the story and attempt to escape the pain and suffering he's been put through.
-Alex p-
Period 6

One of my post its that i found interesting was " Yeah, if they have a race riot round here, I'm going to kill all the white folks with my poison."(p.79) There is a lot of racism in this book to both white and black people. Another one of my post its was when the family got kicked out of their house because they couldn't pay the rent. "Inability to pay rent forced us to move into a house perched atop high logs in a section of town where flood waters came." But since they couldnt pay the other rent how will they pay this rent also?(Eric R)

Note from Mr. Miller: So far, this group is off to a bit of a slow start. There are some interesting ideas about themes, especially 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.

Blog Posting Four.
I believe that the most outstanding, recurrent theme in this story is racism. As i read on, I realise that yes, Rochard is always in some sort of unfortuante situation but two out of three times it is caused by some sort of racial problem. For example, Richard had it good at his aunt maggie's house, fully equipped with money and lots of food. However, this is taken away from him when the "white people" as they are called so vaugley in the book. They kill his uncle, for unknown reasons, and he and his family are forced to move. When they finally begin to get things back together and Aunt Maggie finally gets another boyfriend, they must flee, because of the white folk being after "uncle" for burning down a home and ultimatley killing a white woman. Consiquently, Richard is now starving again, living only on his mother's funds. He states one thing in the book that I would like to add here, "though I did not witness any of it, I could not have been more affected by it if Ihad participated in every clash." He is talking about the racial conflict that is bursting out around the south. I think that in the end, the racial issues will make richard's life and story alot harder than it had to be already.
- tal.

I think that the main theme or themes in "Black Boy" so far is racism and poverty. Examples can be how whenever Richard had to go to the store down the street, he was always being beat and drivien away by the white kids. That is until Richard's mom equips him with a stick and tells him to fight for himself. Also, Richard's uncle gets killed by whites whom were racist, and so Richard and his family must move because they are put in danger, all because of racism. As for the poverty part, I guess you can say that they did not live in the best areas. Also, Richard's dad did leave to go into farming, and so I guess that meant that even farming has better conditions than what Richard's family was in.
-Will B.

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