Understanding Richard Wright's Black Boy: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents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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Write a paper in which you defend or attack the idea that the narrator sees the world through white eyes . 4. Is Black Boy too negative and pessimistic ? Discuss . 5. If Wright's environment was virtually hopeless , how did it manage to ...
I looked forward to a time at which it would be safe for me to escape . I was too young to think of doing so immediately ; besides , I wished to learn how to write , as I might have occasion to write my own pass .
After that , when I met with any boy who I knew could write , I would tell him I could write as well as he . ... In this way I got a good many lessons in writing , which it is quite possible I should never have gotten in any other way .
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The Autobiographical Tradition
The American Dream of Success
The Dream Deferred
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