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Black Boy Themes
Little Words, Big Ideas
What is race? Why does everyone care about it so much? How can we learn to overcome racism? Who keeps racism going? These are the questions that Richard asks as soon as he is old enough to ask them...
In Black Boy, fighting is just a part of Richard’s life. He fights at home. He fights at school. That’s just how it is, and it seems like that’s how it’s always going to be. But Richard man...
Society and Class
Peer pressure. In Black Boy—just like middle school—it’s what makes the world go round. It can make you join a church, make you steal, even make you fight when you don’t even want to. In Bl...
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...
Literature and Writing
Literature is the Swiss Army tool of life. It can be used as a weapon, or as food, or drink, or even as eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. It seems like Black Boy thinks literature can do pretty much eve...
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,...
Life is a classroom, or at least that’s what Black Boy wants us to think. Even though people brand him as an "intellectual," Richard actually has very little formal training. The lessons he picks...
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 li...
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