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Analysis

Literary Devices in Black Boy

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

If you are a black person, this is not the place that you want to be. The Reconstruction has failed, and Jim Crow has taken over. No one likes Jim Crow. Well, what is there to like about discrimina...

Narrator Point of View

We get really close to Richard over the course of Black Boy. We don’t get to know very much about anyone else, but we know a ton about Richard. A little too much. After a little less than 400 pag...

Genre

These are the Days of Our Lives…Let’s get the basics out of the way. Black Boy is a story about Richard Wright, written by Richard Wright. Richard narrates it, and it follows his life from chil...

Tone

Sing it, DaddioGuitars, B.B. King, Bob Dylan, or Louis Armstrong. Guys with deep gravely voices and sad songs. Black Boy.Yeah, seriously. Black Boy is basically a blues song stretched out to 4...

Writing Style

Plot? Who Needs A Plot?We wouldn’t exactly call Black Boy a traditional novel—well, it’s not supposed to be, since it’s modeled on autobiography. Instead of one long smooth narrative, Richa...

What's Up With the Title?

Apparently Wright is an indecisive guy. He went through three different titles for Black Boy before it was published, even without help from his editor. Maybe he’s just a perfectionist, but it’...

What's Up With the Epigraph?

They meet with darkness in the daytimeAnd they grope at noonday as in the night... —Job 5:14So who is this Job fellow? Job basically gets the bummest deal in the whole Hebrew Bible. He’s j...

What's Up With the Ending?

I picked up a pencil and held it over a sheet of white paper, but my feelings stood in the way of my words. Well, I would wait, day and night, until I knew what to say. Humbly now, with no vaulting...

Tough-o-Meter

In terms of vocabulary, Black Boy doesn’t get past the first few pages of the dictionary. Well, mostly. He does throw in a couple of doozies, but most of the time it’s nothing that your average...

Plot Analysis

Just a Small Town Boy, Livin’ in a Lonely WorldRichard and his family are small-town country folk. They don’t have a lot, but what they have is enough for them to get by. Like any old-school pa...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Richard’s life is going nowhere in the South. He decides to go north, to the land of magic and happiness.Let’s be clear: Jackson, Mississippi, is not some kind of post-apocalyptic, Mad Max ...

Three-Act Plot Analysis

Follow the Drinking GourdEven though the novel begins with Richard burning down his house, everything is pretty okay, aside from the occasional beating, until his dad leaves and his mom gets sick....

Trivia

If you’ve seen the movie Uncle Tom’s Cabin, then you’ve seen the boat that took Richard to Memphis with his family. Even though the Kate Adams was destroyed during production, they reconstruc...

Steaminess Rating

Even though Black Boy is rated PG-13, we assure you that there’s nothing steamy about this text. It is positively frigid up in there. There are only a few things in the whole nearly 400-page book...

Allusions

Bluebeard and His Seven Wives (1.2.23)The Bible: Colossians 3:14 (1.4.100), Exodus 20:10 (1.5.44), Philippians 4:7 (1.5.169)Zane Grey, Riders of the Purple Sage (1.5.68)Flynn’s Detective W...
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