Black Boy Topics for Further Study
by Kay Boyle

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Topics for Further Study

(Short Stories for Students)

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• Conduct research to find out more about the harsh economic circumstances under which many African Americans lived in the 1930s. Write up your findings in a paragraph or two.

• Boyle’s prose and descriptions are very evocative. Imagine that you are an artist invited to illustrate an important scene from this story. Which scene would you pick and why? What stylistic choice would you make in rendering the scene?

• Analyze the black boy’s commentary. How honest are his comments? What do his statements reveal about him? Why do you think this?

• Critics do not always agree on Boyle’s use of metaphor; some think her metaphors are overdone while others think they are evocative. Explain your opinion of Boyle’s metaphors in ‘‘Black Boy.’’

• Many critics have commented upon Boyle’s vivid descriptions. Reread ‘‘Black Boy,’’ taking careful note of how she describes the setting and characters. Write a fictional paragraph and try to use a descriptive style that imitates Boyle’s.