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Themes

Church is like a big party. All your friends are there, the music is awesome, and everyone’s wearing their best clothes. Richard is down with all of this, right up until you ask him to actually, you know, believe anything. In Black Boy, religion’s most important aspect is that it allows Richard to mingle. He could care less about all the God and Jesus stuff. You could say that religion is just as much about being in the in-crowd as it is about spirituality.

Questions About Religion

  1. Why do you think Richard isn’t worried about whether or not God exists? Why does everyone else seem to worry so much about what he thinks?
  2. What functions does religion serve in Black Boy? Is religion the only thing that can provide these functions? What else can replace it, if anything?
  3. Compare and contrast the Communist Party and Christianity as they appear in the book. How are they different? How are they the same?

Chew on This

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

The most important part of church in Black Boy is not worshiping but socializing with other people in the community.

For Richard, Communism serves the role that religion played in his grandmother’s life.

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