Questions and Answers: Chapter 6
1. What is odd about the new tenant in Isidore’s building?
2. Why does Isidore find it odd that she doesn’t have an empathy box?
3. Why does Isidore warn Pris Stratton about borrowing items from other people’s apartment?
4. What is “kipple”?
5. How does Isidore’s struggle against kipple compare/contrast to Mercer’s struggle against devastation?
1. The woman doesn’t claim to know about Buster Friendly (the most popular television personality on Earth), she has difficulty telling Isidore her name, and she doesn’t have an empathy box. Also, she seems nervous upon meeting Isidore until she learns that no one else lives in the building.
2. The empathy box is what enables humans to connect to Wilbur Mercer and feel companionship with other humans. Everyone owns an empathy box and Isidore finds it odd that the woman didn’t have room for it amongst the belongings she chose to bring with her when she moved.
3. Isidore warns Pris Stratton about borrowing items from other people’s apartments because borrowing items from other apartments invites the accumulation of “kipple."
4. Kipple is the amassment of useless items left over from the evacuation of Earth by a majority of its population. As everything degrades, the amount of worthless garbage begins to outweigh the amount of items still useful to Earth’s inhabitants.
5. Isidore's struggle against the inevitable amassment of kipple is similar to Mercer's struggle against the inevitable destruction that is inherent to existence on Earth. Both struggles are against forces that will inevitably win. Kipple is a physically manifestation of this struggle, whereas the destruction involved in Mercer’s struggle is conceptual.