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I have always loved assignments like this. They allow readers to truly examine the novel. Songs really speak to everyone and using them to relate to a novel helps understanding.
The themes of Richard Wright's Black Boy are Prejudice/Tolerance, Race/Racism, Meaning of life, and Individualism. Therefore, one really has a lot to work with in regard to songs which speak to the same ideas.
Race and Racism:
"Change is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke.
"Where is Home" by Bloc Party.
"Trouble Every Day" by Frank Zappa.
"Everyday People" by Sly and the Family Stone.
"Every Kinda People" by Robert Palmer.
Meaning of life:
"Let Me Die in My Footsteps" by Bob Dylan.
"The Living Years" by Mike and the Mechanics.
"Born This Way" by Lady Gaga.
"My Best Theory" by Jimmy Eat World.
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