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Bad Boy: A Memoir
Transcript of Bad Boy: A Memoir
A memoir is a story written by an individual that depicts things, persons or events the individual knew or experienced.
The setting for Bad Boy is Harlem, a neighborhood in Manhattan, New York.
Just prior to Walter Dean Myers' birth, Harlem went through a cultural rebirth, or renaissance.
Here's some idea of what Harlem looked like in the 1940s.
Chapter one describes Myers' family history. Let's read it.
This chapter also provides us with Myers' family tree.
Let's read about Myers' early life in chapter two. He loved the music of Harlem. Here are some samples of what Myers would have heard:
Let's Hear It
Chapter three describes Myers' speech impediment, and the bullying he endures. Let's read it.
In this chapter, we are introduced to Mrs. Dodson. How would we de-scribe her as a character?
Mr. Lasher does two "important" things for Myers: first, he helps him with his speech impediment, and second, he convinces him that he is special.
East O' the Sun
Myers is introduced to a collection of Norwegian fairy tales called East O' the Sun and West O' the Moon.
Mr. Irwin Lasher
In chapter six we meet Mr. Lasher, Myers' sixth grade teacher. Let's read about his influence on Myers' life.
In this chapter, Myers gets dragged behind a cab. He blames his injuries on his mother.
A Writer Observes
Not the Center
The murder of an uncle, and the ensuing grief it causes takes the family's focus off of Myers. The world no longer revolves around him.
Racism is an important theme in Bad Boy. Myers discusses it on pp 85-86. How does he deal with being a racial minority?
Your Own Sonnets
Now it's your turn to write a sonnet. I want you to write about something special to you. It might be a person, object, or place. The handout will help you write your sonnet.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning is a famous sonnet writer who lived from 1806 to 1861. Let's read a few of her sonnets.
In chapter nine, we learn about Myers' appreciation for sonnets. Let's read it.
Myers starts high school at Stuyvesant. Religion and racism are two themes discussed in this chapter. Let's read it.
Myers was saving his money for a typewriter. His depressed, alcoholic mother steals the money and gambles it away.
God & Dylan
Let's read chapter twelve. One poet mentioned in this chapter is Langston Hughes.
Marks on Paper
Let's read chapter thirteen. Myers' difficulties in school continue. His grades are poor, and he is always truant.
Let's read chapter fourteen. Myers reads Camus'
, and spends time with Frank Hall.
Myers begins seeing a psychologist, Dr. Holiday. Let's read chapter fifteen.
In chapter seventeen, Dr. Holiday and Myers discuss his strengths. He also realizes the school year ended. Let's read it.
At age sixteen, Myers feels "adrift." He is helping to deliver illegal drugs, and his life is going no where. He decides to join the army. Let's read about it in chapter eighteen.
The Garment Center
Let's read chapter nineteen. After serving in the army, Myers re-turns to a series of dead end jobs in New York.
Let's read chapter sixteen. This chapter is about definitions, and how people are defined. How does Myers ultimately define himself? How do you define yourself?
Bad Boy is a memoir of Walter Dean Myers
Our family history affects us.
How does your family history affect you?
Memoirs are told from the first-person point of view.
Myers was an avid comic book reader. What are some benefits of reading comics?
We're going to read "The Pancake."
He ultimately fractures his heels jumping off a roof. Myers sees this as God taking revenge on him for lying about his mom.
Chapter eight describes how Myers, at age thirteen, wants to see the world as the great poets saw it. Let's read it.
Study Questions Chapters 1-5
The theme of racism is explored further in this chapter. Myers thinks that race should not be a factor that determines a person's success. Let's read it.
Myers is eventually diagnosed with a "nervous" disorder.
Let's read chapter four together.
Let's read chapter five. Myers is having a lot of trouble behaving in school.
Let's read chapter seven.
We're going to read some poems from the poets he mentions: Shelley and Byron.
A sonnet is a poem of fourteen lines that uses different rhyme schemes, and typically has ten syllables per line.
East O' the Sun
We're going to read a poem by Langston Hughes.
Another poet discussed in this chapter is Dylan Thomas. Myers aspires to be like him. Do you think his view of Thomas is realistic?
Myers explores the idea of detaching himself from the emotions that normal people are supposed to have.
Myers realizes that he has to start writing again. He starts writing, and never stops.
He wants to do more with his life.
Study Questions Chapters 11-15
We're going to start reviewing!
A Marvelous Start
Myers claims he had a "marvelous" start in life for the following reasons:
1. He was loved as child.
2. He was given values.
3. He was given culture.
Myers is also finally respected for his skills themselves.