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Black Boy

Black Boy


by Richard Wright

Black Boy Theme of Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

Dreams. Hopes. Prayers. Wishes. Richard has tons of these. He’s got them to spare. Even though there isn’t much hope to go around in the world of Black Boy, Richard manages to hold on to the little bit of a dream that takes him out of the South and into the North. He clutches his dreams even though everyone tells him he’s being daft. Dreams hold Richard’s life together when everything else is falling apart, and even when they’re the thing that’s ripping his life apart. Sure, his life might have been easier without such big dreams—but it certainly would have been less interesting.

Questions About Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

  1. How do Richard’s dreams change over the course of the novel? Does he ever achieve them?
  2. Why is dreaming dangerous for a black man in the South? Does anyone beside Richard dream? If so, what are their dreams?
  3. Why do you think Richard wants to stop dreaming when he gets older? Does he succeed?
  4. What purpose do dreams serve, if any? Is life more tolerable with or without dreams?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Wright suggests that dreams are dangerous. Over and over, they lead Richard to heartbreak.

In Black Boy, dreams are the only thing that Richard possesses.

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