Understanding Richard Wright's Black Boy: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents
From Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and W.E.B. Du Bois on the one hand, to Black Codes, Jim Crow laws, and white supremacist pronouncements on the other, Felgar creates a dialogue between the voices of oppressed blacks, including Richard Wright, and those of oppressing whites over the issue of race and racism. Students will be able to analyze a variety of perspectives on this issue from the earliest days of the American republic to the present day. Felgar also includes primary documents on the American dream of success, which has remained elusive for so many blacks. A chapter on the American autobiographical tradition uses excerpts from Ben Franklin's autobiography, as well as from those by Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and W.E.B. Du Bois, to place Wright squarely in the tradition of this genre and show that Wright was more a believer in the myth of perpetual upward mobility than he realized. In a chapter called The Dream Deferred, documents show how freed blacks were just as enslaved by new and restrictive laws after the Civil War as they had been under slavery. Each chapter concludes with study questions, ideas for written and oral examination, and suggested readings to aid students in examining the issues raised by Wright's autobiography.
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Another symbol that figures prominently in Wright's narrative is books , which come to stand for possibility , opportunity , even life itself ; more than for most other booklovers , books for Wright had a nearly magical quality ...
All of our master's family were either standing or seated on the veranda of the house , where they could see what was to take place and hear what was said . There was a feeling of deep interest , or perhaps sadness , on their faces ...
Some of the officers were ambitious men , hoping to stand for political office . What would happen if they ordered the troops to fire on their neighbors ? And " the nigger deserved hanging , " and " why should good white blood be shed ...
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The Autobiographical Tradition
The American Dream of Success
The Dream Deferred
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