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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Themes

In Black Boy, isolation is way more complicated than it seems. It even has stages. At first, Richard is forced into isolation. He doesn’t want to be alone, but everyone rejects him. Then, Richard accepts his isolation. Who wants to be friends with people who are so much less awesome than he is? Finally, Richard admits that all he ever wanted was to feel accepted. So here’s the question: is isolation good or bad? Well, as Richard finds out, it can be both.

Questions About Isolation

  1. Is it possible to be an extraordinary person and not be isolated?
  2. A long time ago, Greek philosopher Aristotle argued that men (and presumably also women) are social animals, and they always want to connect with other people. What might Richard say to this argument?
  3. Why does Richard have no friends? Is something wrong with him, or with other people? Is it just bum luck?

Chew on This

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

Even for Richard, being alone is difficult. No matter how much he wishes it weren’t true, he comes to realize that everyone needs friends.

Richard is proof that loneliness and isolation are sometimes necessary in order to achieve remarkable dreams.

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