Study Guide

Black Boy Tough-o-Meter

By Richard Wright


Tree Line (5-6)

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 Shmooper can’t handle. Wright’s tone isn’t very conversational, and if he talks like he writes, we get why people said he talks like a book.

Okay, sometimes Wright does get a little carried away with the sound of his own voice (which we have to say, is pretty awesome). Check out the way he describes his fever dreams after recovering from burns: "There was the tantalizing melancholy in the tingling scent of burning hickory wood" (1.1.46).

No wonder people said he talks like a book.

But if you can make it through the tough spots, you’re in for some nice little gems along the way. Wright is a passionate writer, especially when he’s talking about literature. Plus, he’s so good at making you feel what he’s feeling that you might get some funny looks as you smack your head at his stupidity or cheer on his success.