Summer Reading Sale
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Original Essays | July 24, 2014

Jessica Valenti: IMG Full Frontal Feminism Revisited



It is arguably the worst and best time to be a feminist. In the years since I first wrote Full Frontal Feminism, we've seen a huge cultural shift in... Continue »
  1. $11.90 Sale Trade Paper add to wish list

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$5.25
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
3 Local Warehouse Literature- A to Z

Black Boy: American Hunger a Record of Childhood and Youth (Perennial Classics)

by

Black Boy: American Hunger a Record of Childhood and Youth (Perennial Classics) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Plot Summary
"Black Boy is Richard Wright's memoir of his life from early childhood to the launching of his career as a writer. His father abandoned the family soon after they moved to Memphis, leaving Wright, his mother and brother in dire straits. Schooling throughout his childhood was erratic and often interrupted; he eventually completed the ninth grade. Domestic violence, neglect and hunger plagued him throughout his youth.

Wright's first prolonged contact with white people came when he began working odd jobs to earn enough money for food. The discrimination and violence he experienced in the Jim Crow South came as a terrible shock to him. Time and again, Richard was the target of white hatred because he failed to hide his true thoughts and feelings behind a mask of servility and humility. Finally, resolved to leave the South forever, Richard scraped together enough money to move north to Chicago.

Wright vividly describes the intellectual awakening he experienced in Chicago as he immersed himself in the works of Dreiser, Mencken, Faulkner and Sherwood Anderson and began his first serious efforts at writing. "Black Boy ends with an image of Wright sitting poised with pencil in hand, determined to " hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo." He had arrived at the threshold of his professional literary career. Discussion Topics
1. In one of his first contacts with whites, Wright feels himself tensing up with confusion and suspicion over how to act. Discuss the various forms that tension takes in the course of "Black Boy. Does Wright glimpse any relief from this tension?

2. Personal narratives like Zora Neale Hurston's " How It Feels to Be ColoredMe, " and James Baldwin's Notes of a Native Son have been among the most enduring and powerful modes of expression among African-American writers. What is it about the African-American experience that makes so many gifted writers tell their own stories? What influence has "Black Boy had on this genre?

3. Wright writes: " I used to mull over the strange absence of real kindness in Negroes, how unstable was our tenderness, how lacking in genuine passion we were, how void of great hope, how timid our joy, how bare our traditions, how hollow our memories, how lacking we were in those intangible sentiments that bind man to man, and how shallow was even our despair." Taken out of context, this reads like a terrible damnation of the African-American soul. How does the meaning of these words change when read in the context of the book - and the context of Wright's own youth? Do you feel the book justifies this criticism of African-Americans - or is this passage a sign of Wright's self-hatred, his lack of sympathy with the essence of black culture?

4. When it was published in 1945, "Black Boy was read primarily as an attack on the violence and oppression of the Jim Crow South; during the 1960s, critics began to focus on the sensibility of the narrator - how his experiences shaped him, how he found his voice and satisfied his yearning for expression. Which view of the novel feels most on target to you?

5. Several years before he died, Wright wrote, " I declare unabashedly that I like and even cherish the state of abandonment and aloneness...it seems the natural, inevitable condition of man, and I welcome it..." Discuss this statement in the light of "Black Boy.

6.Compare the male and female characters as they are presented in "Black Boy. To what extent is Richard rebelling against the powerful role of women in African-American families? Do you think Wright is a misogynist, as some critics have written? Are there any men in the book to whom Richard feels close or to whom he turns for guidance or mentoring?

Synopsis:

Black Boy is a classic of American autobiography, a subtly crafted narrative of Richard Wright's journey from innocence to experience in the Jim Crow South. An enduring story of one young man's coming of age during a particular time and place, Black Boy remains a seminal text in our history about what it means to be a man, black, and Southern in America.

Synopsis:

With an introduction by Jerry W. Ward, Jr.

Black Boy is a classic of American autobiography, a subtly crafted narrative of Richard Wright's journey from innocence to experience in the Jim Crow South. An enduring story of one young man's coming off age during a particular time and place, Black Boy remains a seminal text in our history about what it means to be a man, black, and Southern in America.

"Superb...The Library of America has insured that most of Wright's major texts are now available as he wanted them to be tread...Most important of all is the opportunity we now have to hear a great American writer speak with his own voice about matters that still resonate at the center of our lives."
--Alfred Kazin, New York Time Book Review

"The publication of this new edition is not just an editorial innovation, it is a major event in American literary history."
--Andrew Delbanco, New Republic

Description:

Includes bibliographical references (p. [409]-419).

About the Author

Richard Wright won international renown for his powerful and visceral depiction of the black experience. He stands today alongside such African-American luminaries as Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison, and two of his novels, Native Son and Black Boy, are required reading in high schools and colleges across the nation. He died in 1960.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780060929787
Introduction:
Ward, Jerry W., Jr.
Author:
Ward, Jerry W., Jr.
Introduction:
Ward, Jerry W., Jr.
Author:
Wright, Richard
Author:
Wright, Richard A.
Publisher:
Harper Collins
Location:
New York :
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
People of Color
Subject:
Social life and customs
Subject:
Historical - U.S.
Subject:
American fiction (fictional works by one author)
Subject:
Afro-americans
Subject:
Authors, American
Subject:
African Americans
Subject:
Afro-American authors -- Biography.
Subject:
American fiction (fictional works by one auth
Subject:
African American authors
Edition Description:
TradePB
Series:
Perennial Classics
Series Volume:
107-437
Publication Date:
19980805
Binding:
Book
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
448
Dimensions:
8.08x5.36x1.07 in. .87 lbs.

Other books you might like

  1. Native Son Used Mass Market $3.50
  2. The Great Gatsby
    New Mass Market $3.50
  3. Yellow Raft in Blue Water Used Trade Paper $2.50
  4. Wise Blood
    Used Trade Paper $6.95
  5. Their eyes were watching God :a novel Used Trade Paper $2.50
  6. Bras & Broomsticks Used Trade Paper $1.25

Related Subjects


Biography » Historical
Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » General

Black Boy: American Hunger a Record of Childhood and Youth (Perennial Classics) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.25 In Stock
Product details 448 pages Harper Perennial - English 9780060929787 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Black Boy is a classic of American autobiography, a subtly crafted narrative of Richard Wright's journey from innocence to experience in the Jim Crow South. An enduring story of one young man's coming of age during a particular time and place, Black Boy remains a seminal text in our history about what it means to be a man, black, and Southern in America.
"Synopsis" by , With an introduction by Jerry W. Ward, Jr.

Black Boy is a classic of American autobiography, a subtly crafted narrative of Richard Wright's journey from innocence to experience in the Jim Crow South. An enduring story of one young man's coming off age during a particular time and place, Black Boy remains a seminal text in our history about what it means to be a man, black, and Southern in America.

"Superb...The Library of America has insured that most of Wright's major texts are now available as he wanted them to be tread...Most important of all is the opportunity we now have to hear a great American writer speak with his own voice about matters that still resonate at the center of our lives."
--Alfred Kazin, New York Time Book Review

"The publication of this new edition is not just an editorial innovation, it is a major event in American literary history."
--Andrew Delbanco, New Republic

spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.