Mr. Miller's English 10 Lit Circles Wiki



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Black Boy



Group members
Sukh, Matt, Katharine, Will J, Zack




First Part of Book


Possible Themes
well... I found this story really interesting as I found so many themes from the first chapter. This story basically tells the situation of a young kids and their behaviour when they are not looked after wisely. Richard, being a very little boy, killed a kitten which is awfull. The possible themes from the first part of the story would be Responsibility, Eagarness, Hunger, Equility. I think that responsibility fits in here because when Richard was sent to grocery store to buy things. He mentioned, " I was pround; I felt like grown up ". And his mother was sending him again and again giving the money. I think this was because she might wanted him to know that the problems occured in daily life should be handaled by our own. This might make negative impact on the children and lead them to voilence but there are also some possitive impacts. And I chosed the Eagerness as Richard was so happy when the numbers by the coal man. He was so excited about that. So we can say that the eagerness can be also the theme here. I chose the equility because somewhere in the first part Richard told that the guy had no rights to beat the other guy which symbols the racisim out there. I chose the hunger as they all got no food after Richard's dad left. He was the only one who used to work I think. I think that these all themes also symbols the struggle. This is because they were struggling so much in young age. " Life is struggle", this quote is proved to be right in this story as they were facing problems in their family.
-Sukh

So far, the story continues to speak about the hunger that has been going on in the family. Everyday, Richard speaks about the hunger he experiences and how it affects the relationship between the families. Just because the mother cannot afford to take care of Richard and his younger brother, they must be seperated by the likes of an orphanage. The hunger eats away at their stomachs, as they had eaten scraps of food from leftovers, or go around the town drunk from the free booze given off at the bar. They must come together and take care of themselves, to survive in this world full of starving people.
-Zack

So far I think that this book’s big theme would have to be family. This book is solely about this boy Richard and his mom and brother. They are trying to get through a very hard time in their lives. Having the father left the family sent them into getting poor and now Richard and his brother have to face hunger. Richard goes through a really tough time living like that. He ends up getting himself into bad situations like drinking at the saloon. Later Richard and his brother get put into an orphanage and are miserable. This family needs to stay strong for a while to be able to survive. They try to get money from the father but the mother suddenly doesn’t want to take it. Hopefully, she will get a job to be able to take care of the family and to get her sons out of the orphanage.
-Matt

This story deals a lot with racism. In most of the chapter, there is alot of violence towards blacks. He is beaten several times and another black boy was beaten to death. It is taken place in the early 1900s, so there is still a lot of racial hostility. I have a feeling that there will a lot more beatings. In the beggining, when they lived more down south, they fit in and there wasn't that much racism. But futher up north, there are more white people, so they didn't want black people up were they live.
-Will

I think the two themes so far in this book is family and hunger. This books is mainly about Richard, his brother, and his mother. The father left in the middle of chaper one. When the father left it ruined the family. The father was the provider, and when he left they had nothing. They were poor and weren't able to provide for themselves. Since the mother couldn't even take care of herself, the children were put into an orphanage. The family would often go hungry, and not eat for long periods of time because they could not afford it. They went through many tough times, but I hope they realize that need eachother more than ever now. They need to stick together through the tough times that lie ahead, and that are already happening. I hope that the mother gets a job so she can take the children out of the orphanage. Also, so she can get back with her family and try and create a better life for everyone. She should realize that now, more than ever, her children need her and she shouldn't leave them.
-Katharine


RESPONSES TO THESE IDEAS
I agree with Will. I also believed that one of the themes to the story was racism. The most evidence for this theme was when Richard's mother was talking to Richard about the "black" boy who got beaten by the "white" man. Richard thought that the man was the boy's father, and was shocked to realize that the man wasn't the boy's father. The only thing about Will's posts is that wasn't their more rasicm in the south than the north? For example, the civil war was between the south, who wanted to keep slaves, and the north, who wanted the slaves freed. I think that they would have had more racism in the south than the north.
-Mike

Katharine, some facts your braught up are true, like how the parents were put into a orphanage and how the mother couldnt support them when she didnt have a job. The mother did have a job working for the "white" family and she was saving up money for them to get out of the orphanage.
-Eric

Racisim
"Why did Richard kill the cat?"
"I stood in the middle of the sidewalk and cried. A "white" police man came to me and I wondered if he was going to beat me." (31)
Both of these quotes got me thinking. I didn't know first off why Richard would kill the cat. I figured that he did it inspite of getting "revenge" on his father. I knew that Richard would think killing the cat would be in some way "rewarding", but I don't think I would be able to live with myself killing a cat. Also, I think that it's strange that he was scared of the white police man. I know that back then things were different, but I can't imagine being scared of someone just for being a different race.
-Katharine

While reading chapter two, I came to cross that the mother had become ill and went to bed to rest. The grandmother was to give Richard and his brother a bath, and Richard was very disrespectful, afraid of the Grandmother, calling for his mother. The mom came right away, which made me wonder how she got well so quickly. This occured on page 42, and continues on until Richard's beating, which his mother was able to do with the energy she supposedly had gotten.
Another one of my post-its was talking about the dog, Betsy, Richard had gotten from his uncle. I placed the post-it on page 70 because that is the main part I was confused from, since he did not accept 97 cents, from the dollar he wanted (only 3 cents less). Was he afraid of being in this clean, white neighborhood, that he wasn't able to sell his dog to this child?
-Zack

One the most predominant themes in the book is family. When it comes to the end of the day, that's all Richard really has. He is pretty poor, moves every month or so, so he dosn't have any real friends. He is even seperated from his brother, whom he hasn't heard from since he went up north with his aunt. Richard is jumping around the south with different family members, but he really wants to be with his mom. She is very sick again, and suffered from a seizure, paralizing her. Richard needs his mother, because he is so young.

-Will

-I wonder why the grandma got really upset when she caught Ella reading to Richard?
- it seemed like Richard didnt make a lot of freinds, or none at all, during his time at the foster home.

These two ideas really got me thinking about the book. they rose alot of opions in our group dicussion.
the gradma seemed like she was very angry at the book. i didnt really know why, and thats why i made
that one of my postits. also when Richard left the foster home, he didnt care about anyone except him
self. it made me think that he was not socibale and that was from his hard time he was experienceing.
- Matt

Blog 2/12 - There are no names on these postings. Who wrote them? - Mr. Miller

I think that the theme so far is survival. I think that it's really hard for Richard to survive because everything that's going on in his life. I don't know how he handles everything that he has to deal with. Since his father left he's had a very difficult life. He's been to an orphanage, he almost was beaten up, his mother couldn't support him or his brother, and he was starved for a while because they could not buy food. After reading more of this book I understood that Richard was going through some of the toughest times in his life.


Blog 2/12

From reading more of this book I found out that another big theme/event in Richard's life happens to be racism. For example when Richard and his family travel to Aunt Maggie’s in Arkansas, Richard notices separate sections on the train for white and black people. Because Richard never knew of this before he wants to go look at the white section of the train. From this, Richards mom just gets annoyed and tells him no. This makes Richard ask many questions about his granny's race and also makes his mom madder. As a result, Richard is also mad that nobody will talk to him about this issue going on. Another example is when white people murder Hoskins because they jealous of his business. These types of things going on in Richard’s life really impact his life. And what's really disturbing is that no one has the time or patience to explain what is going on to Richard. So I think that racism is now a main concern in this book now.
-Matt Tarducci

In this book, I found couple of the themes that is recurring. i think that racisim and the struggle are the one. richard is facing so many problems in his early age. His dad went off the house leaving his brother and mom leaving in the bad situation. Richard and his brother were left in the orphan home because their mom was looking for job. Richard being a kid was struggling ro survive. they keep on changing the places. So, i think that the struggle can be the big idea of the book. Racism is also the other big idea or the theme. Richard being a black boy was experiencing the reality of the world i.e. racisim. He previously saw a white man beating a black boy in the first chapter which made him realize about the human rights. Later his uncle was killed by the white people when he was in his aunt Maggie's home. So, the daily life he was experiencing was sort of making him realize about the racisim. He began to think about the human rights and the individual freedom. These situations were actually helping him understand the reality of the world. in terms of the conflict, when Richard's uncle was killed by the whites, it creates conflict between the different races in the society. There may be the arument or the fight between the different races. It also might creates the conflict with Richard himsef. He was a little kid and everything was happening in front of him which makes him against the white people. So these big ideas was creating many conflicts in the story.
-Sukh

Stated many times in the book, in my opinion the most recurring theme would be racism. Richard has faced many problems throughout his life, although made many friends which included this theme. One important aspect that occurred a while back would be the death of his uncle. He was killed because some white people were jelous of his business in the bar, and decided to take what rightfully was not theirs. Another time when racism was spoken about was when Richard talked to his friends on the street. One example from the book would be on page 80, stating, "Yeah, white folks set on their white asses day and night, but leta nigger do something, and they get every bloodhound that was ever born and put 'em on his trail." Richard and his friends continued on a discussion complaining about white people, as the white people probably do with them.
-Zachary F.

Post # 5 Feb 26

A main theme that has been discussed on our wiki page is hunger. Throughout the entire book numerous examples of this hunger theme come up. Hunger is what Richard is faced to deal with, basically everyday of his life. An example of his hunger in the book is when he moves back to Jackson. In Jackson, he is faced to eat meals of flour and lard mush for breakfast and also these green vegetables that are cooked in lard as well. Richard finds out that drinking a lot of water makes him feel full because it makes his stomach tight. So hunger is what Richard needs to fight in order to survive. It is also one of the main themes in this book.
-Matt T.

I agree with Matt because Hunger as a theme is repeated many times in the story. Whereas, there are other themes that are repeated in the story like racism, poverty etc. Richard being a black boy sees many situation that realize him that racism still exists in society. It shows that people still have discrimination on the race and color. We can take death of his uncle as an example in the story who was killed by the white people early in story. So, yeah ..themes are being repeated with many situation in the story. migration can be also considered as the theme in Black Boy as they move to different places in search of better life.This also can be connected or related to the real world. People in general world migrate from one place to other in search of better life, better jobs and facilities and so on. I don't think that migration is big or strong theme in this story. But I believe that migration also fits in this story.
-Sukh

According to several other groups reading the book "Black Boy," a theme highly spoken about would be religion. The ending of chapter 4 mostly spoke about religion in Richard's life. On page 114, Richard had said, "I simply can't feel religion, I told him in lieu of telling him that I did not think I had the kind of soul he thought I had." This states that Richard does not truly believe in religion or doesn't even try to. Along with that, Richard says many other things that hints off he doesn't care much for religion, and he still doesn't after his church community tried to help him. I believe that at the end, Richard will start believening in God when the entire world will be more peaceful towards the African Americans.
-Zachary F.


March 7 Post #6

Overall i found out that the main theme in this book happend to be racism. out of all of the first themes thought of, racism was the one that occured most often. this is true especially as the book went on. in the last 4 chapters there are many examples of rascim towards black people. it is what Richard is faced to go up against and experience everyday of his life. one example is that black people are not allowed to borrow books from the public library in town. i found that to be very racist. when reading that southern white people didn't like it when black people moved to the North because it made it seem that the black people didn't like the way they were being treated inthe South. i thought that was rediculous. Richard already had to go through enough seeing and hearing about black people getting beaten for no reason. so Richard and people like him should deffinlity be able to move to escape from this racsim. that is why racism is the main and reoccuring theme in this book.
-Matt Tarducci

After finishing the book, I have made up my wind to determine that racism is the main theme mostly spoken about, especially when Richard went to Memphis. One first occurrence that Richard had to deal with was his boss, Mr. Olin, who started making up lies to seek entertainment. He told Richard and his friend that they were going to betray each other, and set up a fight between them, ruining Richard's unique friendship with Harrison. Mr. Olin, I believe, would never do this if it were two young white people. Another problem, although minor, that Richard had to encounter was with the local librarian. It shows how African Americans are not allowed equal rights, since they were not allowed to forage through the library looking at books. Overall, I believe that the way the southern society has grown up to live with is horrible. Treating people differently just because of the way they look like disgusts me, and mostly how they dislike the north letting them do what they please. At the end of the story, Richard decides to move up north to Chicago to run away from his fears of his past life.
-Zachary Fair

After finishing this book, I realized that racism really was what this book was about. Even after he went to Memphis to live with his aunt Maggie. he still was faced with racism. I felt that Richard experienced racism more so at the end of the book than in the beginning of the book. At the end of this book I think Richard realizes that wherever he goes there's going to be racism.

Characterics of a good literature circles discussion includes:
- giving your personal opinions
- everyone participates in the discussion
- asking questions with one another
- having a steady discussion (no pauses)
- staying on topic
- relating to personal life

Make this a heading for summaries of what was discussed on discussion days

Discussion day one: In our group discussion, we talked about the reasons why Richard was frightensed to sell his dog to the white girl. He didn't sell the dog for only 3 cents less than what he wanted to sell it for. We also discussed about the house helper, Ella, in granny's house and what she did to incluence Richard's new liking to those books. We didn't know if she actually left on her own will, or was kicked out. Another aspect of our discussion, were the issues Richard's uncle had with his bar. Along with that, we talked about why the grandmother was s he so mad at Richard; mostly about the quote he had said.

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


To use the discussion feature, click the discussion tab at the top of the page and post a question or response to a question