Examine Branch's writing style. How would you describe his prose style? What kind of vocabulary does he use? Does he use any specific writing techniques? What meaning does Branch's style give to his story?
Discuss the connotations of the word "nigger."
1) What is its original meaning and what has it come to mean?
2) Why is it now considered so wrong to use?
3) Do you think the word has become too powerful?
Identify the main themes of the book. Why do you think these themes are so important to the book? How does Branch use character and setting to express his themes?
Discuss differences between the novel and autobiographical formats. What are the main elements of a novel? What are the main elements of an autobiography? What can Branch express in an autobiography that he can't in a novel? How does Branch use these limitations to his advantage?
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