Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 603
1. How had schoolteacher changed life at Sweet Home?
2. What had been their plan for escape from slavery?
3. Why hadn’t Thirty-Mile Woman been caught?
4. Why had Sixo been burned and then shot to death?
5. How had Paul D been tortured when he was captured?
6. What does the white stranger tell the two men sitting on the church steps?
7. Why does Stamp Paid apologize to Paul D?
8. Why had Stamp Paid changed his name from Joshua?
9. Why had Stamp Paid gone to see the young master’s wife?
10. What does the red ribbon signify for Stamp Paid?
1. Schoolteacher had changed life at Sweet Home by taking the guns away from the slaves, not allowing them to offer their thoughts, instituting torture (such as the bit, the iron necklace, and whipping), and killing errant slaves. He revoked whatever small amount of respect Mr. Garner may have given the slaves.
2. The plan for escape from slavery had been that a woman Thirty-Mile Woman knew would wait for the others in the corn when it was high for a day-and-a-half. She would rattle to signal that the time was right and then take them to the waiting caravan where the others would already be hiding, waiting themselves for this woman who knew the way to freedom.
3. Thirty-Mile Woman had not been caught because Sixo heard schoolteacher, his pupils, and the other four white men and pushed her on her way to safety. She ran into the creek bed while Paul D and Sixo ran the other way. The white men followed them instead of her.
4. Sixo had been burned and shot to death because, even with bound hands, he grabbed one of the rifles and cracked the ribs of one of the white men. Schoolteacher had decided he was not worth saving and had him tied to a tree and burned to death. When Sixo refused to stop laughing while being burned alive, schoolteacher had him shot by one of the white men.
5. When he was captured, Paul D had been tortured by being forced to wear an iron bit in his mouth and an iron three-spoked collar around his neck, even though his hands and feet were shackled.
6. After the white stranger asks Paul D and Stamp Paid how to find Judy, he tells them Paul D should be more respectful than to drink on the steps of a church.
7. Stamp Paid apologized to Paul D because no one in the community offered him a place to stay. He did not know that Reverend Pike had offered, but Paul D refused, just wanting to be alone.
8. Stamp Paid had changed his name from Joshua after the young master had bedded Joshua’s wife, Vashti. He felt that by not killing the young master nor his own wife, his dues were paid and he should call himself Stamp Paid since articles were marked “Stamp Paid” when the duty on them was paid.
9. Stamp Paid had gone to see the young master’s wife to circumspectly inform her of what her husband was doing. He could not say it directly since it was the young master’s right as slave owner, so he asked the mistress to deliver some trivial message to his wife, describing his wife as wearing a black ribbon around her neck—the one the young master’s wife knew her husband had given Vashti, instead of her.
10. For Stamp Paid, the red ribbon signifies the black ribbon young master had given Vashti to wear and, in a larger sense, all the suffering the slaves endured at the hands of their masters.