The following questions were developed by Dr. Jerry Ward for the short story Down by the Riverside by Richard Wright. ~ Maggie
1. What is the moral conundrum in this story?
2. Does the story seem to have unusual significance if we compare reactions to the Mississippi River flood of 1927 with those evidenced in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the breaking of the levees in New Orleans in 2005?
3. Why are the military officials so insensitive to Mann's grief over the death of his wife? Why is Mann addressed as “boy”?
4. Why does Mann rescue Mrs. Heartfield and her two children when he knows they will identify him as the person who murdered Mr. Heartfield?
5. Why does Mann decide to die before the agents of justice can kill him? What is the significant difference between his decision and the one Silas makes in Long Black Song?