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STUDY QUESTIONS Comprehension and Discussion
questions are discussion)
1. What white child meets the Logans on the
way to school every day? (Jeremy Simms)
1a. How does Jeremy pay a price for
1b. Why does Stacey try to discourage Jeremy from walking
2. Whom does Papa bring home with him from the railroad? (Mr.
3. How did Mr. Morrison lose his railroad job? (Fighting)
3a. Mr. Morrison says that he was not the one responsible for starting the fight,
but that he was the only one fired as the other men were white. Discuss actions
and characteristics of Mr. Morrison that indicate that he is telling the truth.
4. What is wrong with the school books? (They have labels indicating that
they are white discards)
5. What does Mama do to help the children feel
better about using the books? (Covers the labels with brown paper)
addition to the books, describe other indications that education of the blacks
is not given much importance in this community.
6. How is it that the
children are in the path of a school bus every day, but have no ride to school
themselves? (The blacks and whites go to different schools, but follow the same
route to a crossroads where the busload of white students turns off. There is
no bus for black students)
7. Why does Papa work out of town? (His cotton
doesn’t bring enough money to pay the taxes)
8. What information does
T.J. Avery have that the Logans haven’t heard yet? (Burning the Berrys.)
9. Why do the black children have a shorter school year than the whites? (Their
school year corresponds to the work in the fields where their help is needed.)
10. How long do some of the children spend on the road in order to get
to school? (Three and a half hours)
11. How many grades share a single
room in the school? (4)
12. What is Cassie’s reaction to Miss Crocker’s
class introduction? (Bored)
12a. Discuss the impression that Miss Crocker
makes on Cassie and the other children.
13. What is Stacey’s original
reaction to Mr. Morrison? ( He doesn’t like him)
13a. How does Mr. Morrison
develop a relationship with Stacey?
14. Where do the tenant farmers usually do their shopping? (The Wallace Store)
14a. Explain why Papa has ordered the children not to go to that store.
15. What happens that leads the children to disobey the order about the Wallace
Store? (T.J. is caught cheating and Stacey gets the blame. He follows T.J. to
the store to beat him up and the other children tag along)
on possible reasons why Mr. Morrison promises not to tell Mama that the children
went to the store. Why do you think Stacey voluntarily tells her even though he
will be punished?
16 Who comes to visit at Christmas time? (Uncle Hammer)
16a. Discuss the things that make Hammer’s new car more than just a car.
17. What has happened just prior to Hammer’s visit? (The incident in Strawberry)
17a. Why do Mama and Mr. Morrison try to stop Hammer from going into town?
What is wrong with Hammer’s way of solving problems?
18. What should have
been done in order to prevent Cassie from getting in trouble in Strawberry? (Discussion)
19. If you had been in Cassie’s shoes, what do you think you would have
said/done regarding Lillian Jean? (Discussion)
20. Do you feel that Big
Ma was right or wrong in making Cassie apologize? (Discussion)
does Mama deal with the children’s disobedience? (Takes them to visit the Berrys)
21a. Why is this more effective than whipping them?
the relationship Big Ma had with her husband Paul Edward. (Discussion)
23. What technique does the author use to reveal information from the past? (Storytelling)
23a. Explain why Papa insists that the children be permitted to hear Mr. Morrison’s
story. What does the story tell them about themselves and their own family’s situation?
24. Discuss the elements that contribute to the hesitancy of the other
sharecroppers to shop in Vicksburg. (Discussion)
25. Who makes it possible
for the farmers to do their shopping in Vicksburg? (Mr. Jamison)
how the credit system works at the Wallace store. How is this system fair or unfair
to the sharecroppers?
26. Explain why Mr. Avery backs out of the Vicksburg
27. Explain how white people used Christianity
during slavery. (Discussion)
28. Why had Papa Luke’s owners not tried
to break him? ( He had medicinal knowledge they needed)
29. Explain how
white people justified slavery. (Discussion)
30. How did northerners
who fought against slavery feel about black people? (They still thought they were
not quite as good as whites.)
31. According to Mama, what element of our
lives do we have a choice over? (What we make of it once we are here.)
32. Explain Uncle Hammer’s reaction once he discovers that Stacey has given away
the coat. (Discussion)
32a. Do you think Hammer was too hard on Stacey? Why
or why not?
33. What does Hammer do on the way home from church that makes
Mama fearful? (Deliberately tricks the Wallaces into letting him cross the bridge
34. What treasure did each of the children receive for Christmas?
35. Why do you think Stacey is hesitant about letting Jeremy
into the house on Christmas day? (Discussion)
36. Do you agree or disagree
with Papa’s opinion about friendship between blacks and whites? Do you think things
are different today? On what do you base your opinion?
37. How does T.J.
try to trick Stacey a second time? (Tells him he wouldn’t have anything to do
with a flute made by a white kid)
38. What does Big Ma do about her land
to prevent the Grangers from getting it. (Has it put into David’s and Hammer’s
names so it can’t be sold without both of their signatures)
39. What do
the laborers get paid in the Granger fields? (50 cents a day)
long has the Logan family owned the land? (50 years)
41. How do you feel
about the way Cassie handled Lillian Jean? Would you have done anything different
to “stand up” to her?
42. What does Papa compare their family to when
he talks about hanging onto the land? (The little fig tree)
does T.J. do that causes conflict between him and Mary Logan? (Cheats on the semester
44. Why does T.J. blame his school failure on his teacher? What
personality characteristic had he NOT developed? (Discussion)
lesson was Mama teaching when the school board members visited her class? (Slavery)
45a. Do you think she should have done some quick thinking and changed her lesson
while the white men were there? Why or why not?
46. What is wrong with
T.J.’s definition of friendship? (Discussion)
47. Who is the first to
point out that R.W. and Melvin are not “real” friends to T.J.? (Their younger
48. Which of the landowners will not raise the price
taken from the sharecroppers? (Mr. Harrison)
49. Where does Mr. Granger
threaten to send the sharecroppers? (To a chain gang)
49a. Do you think Mr.
Granger can really do that, or is it just a scare tactic?
50. Why does
Mr. Morrison not want to leave the Logans in spite of the threat of danger? (Discussion)
51. What does Mr. Morrison do when Kaleb Wallace tries to block the road
with his truck? (Physically moves the truck off the road)
51a. Explain why
Mr. Morrison is not afraid of Kaleb Wallace. (Discussion)
52. What does
Jeremy try to share with Stacey? (His tree house)
53. What happens that
forces Papa to contact Hammer for money? (The bank forecloses)
why the bank decided not to honor the loan for the full term.
the actions that Granger takes to get the land away from the Logans and tell why
each one of them fails.
55. Explain what happens to T.J. at Barnett’s
store. How was T.J. partially at fault even though he did not actually break anything
or hurt anyone.
56. (Graphic Organizer) Create a time line of the Logans
lives and ownership of the property, beginning with the original purchase of the
57. (Character study) Create a character “map” of Cassie Logan in
which you show the problems she faced, what she did about each and how it helped
her to mature.
58. (Character study) Create a character map of T.J. Avery.
Show a sequence of events in which he was involved and describe the gradual decline
in his attitude and behavior. Previous
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