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Black Boy | Chapter Summaries

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Timeline of Events

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Part 1, Chapter 1 An epigraph from the Book of Job, a book from the Old Testament of the Christian Bible, opens Part 1, setting the stage ... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 2 Wright's mother removes him and his brother from the orphanage, and all three move in with their grandmother in Jackson,... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 3 When Wright begins spending time with older boys, he is forced "to pay for my admittance into their company by subscribi... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 4 At his grandmother's house Wright is forced to "make a pretense of worshipping her God," but in reality he believes only... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 5 Eventually his grandmother and Aunt Addie give up on trying to save Wright's soul. Now 13, Wright returns to public scho... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 6 Wright finds a job serving a white family before and after school and on Saturdays. His new employer offers him food unf... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 7 In the summer after seventh grade Wright, now 15, gets a job as a water boy at a brickyard. There he is attacked by the ... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 8 Summer arrives, and, as usual, Wright needs work. One day while job hunting, he sees a friend named Ned Greenley, who sa... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 9 Wright takes a job at a clothing store where he witnesses the white owners abusing a black woman who cannot pay her bill... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 10 After his experience at the optical company, Wright feels like a "non-man." He does not hate the men who threatened him.... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 11 Wright moves to Memphis, planning to rent an apartment, get a job, and save money to move north. But he is no longer use... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 12 Jobs are plentiful in the big city, and Wright settles on working as an errand boy for an optical company. He uses his l... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 13 Wright reads as much as possible. In a newspaper he sees a "furious denunciation" of a writer named H.L. Mencken. Curiou... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 14 Aunt Maggie's husband leaves her, and she visits Wright in Memphis. She, Wright, and Wright's brother spend their spare ... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 15 Part 2 opens with an epigraph from a Negro folk song. Wright arrives in Chicago in 1927 at age 19. Full of gray an... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 16 By spring Wright, now 20 years old, gains enough weight to earn a full-time post office job. For over a year he works ni... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 17 Wright despises applying for welfare, feeling he is "making a public confession of ... hunger." But he is interested to ... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 18 A group of white post office employees invite Wright to a Communist-sponsored literary organization called the John Reed... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 19 Wright sets out to write a book of short biographical descriptions of the lives of African American members of the Commu... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 20 Wright gets a job with the Federal Writer's Project, and he is assigned to write guidebooks. Once again the Communist Pa... Read More
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