1. Black Manhood, as described by Matt Richardson, is a stigmatized identity that is brought into closer analysis when Joss Moody is “discovered” to be a designated female at birth. How does Joss enable the reproduction of black masculinity? How does playing Jazz music allow Joss to create his own identity?
2. Richardson argues that social death, as experienced by African American people, did not end with the abolition of slavery. Having a queer identity, Joss Moody allows us to see another form of social death. Categories such as “family, man, woman, marriage, heterosexual, lesbian, and ordinary” (363) are being put into new perspectives. How can thinking about these categories help us understand the social death that Coleman experiences?
3. “I am especially interested in how Colman comes to see himself as socially dead as well — a black man who is ultimately in a feminized position in relationship to legitimate patriarchal white masculinity.” (Richardson 362). Do the feminine characters of the novel, like Millie, Edith, and Sophie, reinforce Coleman’s black masculinity? Do they compromise his black masculinity? How?
4. Richardson uses some of the imagery from the novel to introduce a Freudian idea of reproducing masculinity. Coleman’s memory of touching the trumpet (seen as a phallic symbol) creates nostalgia towards connecting to the father. What other figurative/literal symbols reinforce Joss Moody’s masculinity according to Richardson?