Black Boy Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. How does Richard burn down his grandparents' house?

With nothing to do one day, the four-year-old Richard finds some matches and starts lighting stray straws in the fireplace. Soon bored of that, Richard decides he wants to see what the curtains look like when they are ablaze. The fire soon gets out of control and Richard runs from the house.

2. How does Richard's mother punish him for burning down the house?

Richard's mother, Ella, beats Richard until he falls unconscious. She beats him so badly that for several days, he lays in bed with a delusional fever.

3. Why does Richard hang the kitten?

Richard and his brother, Alan, are playing with a kitten in the yard when their father decides they are making too much noise. He tries to shoo the cat away, but it won't budge, and in frustration, he tells Richard to kill it. Richard knows his father is not serious, but resenting his attitude, Richard kills it anyway.

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