The Bluest Eye AUTUMN: Chapter 1 Questions and Answers
by Toni Morrison

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AUTUMN: Chapter 1 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why do Claudia and Frieda beat up Rosemary, and what does Rosemary offer as an apology?

2. What does Claudia do once she falls ill?

3. How does Claudia describe Mr. Henry when she first meets him?

4. What game does Mr. Henry play with Claudia and Frieda when he first sees them?

5. What does Frieda and Claudia’s Mama mean when she says that a “case” is coming to live with them?

6. According to Claudia, what is the difference between being put out and being put outdoors?

7. Where is the rest of the Breedlove family while Pecola is at Claudia’s house?

8. Why does Mama complain about “folks” when she knows that Pecola drank three quarts of milk?

9. Why does Frieda ask Claudia to bring “lots of water”?

10. What does Claudia think will happen when she hears water running in the bathtub?

Answers
1. Rosemary asks the girls if they want to humiliate her by taking down her pants, and the girls show how strong they are by refusing to do so.

2. Claudia lies in bed while Frieda blocks the window with stockings. Claudia lies completely still in order to stay in the spot that she has made warm. After about an hour, her mother comes in and rubs salve on her chest. After she makes Claudia swallow a bit of the salve, her mother than wraps her in a flannel and puts a heavy quilt on top of her.

3. Claudia describes Mr. Henry almost entirely by his scent, which is “like trees and lemon vanishing cream, and Nu Nile Hair Oil and flecks of Sen-Sen.”

4. Mr. Henry hides a penny on his body for Claudia and Frieda to find.

5. The “case” is a girl who is homeless and is now set up in the care of the county because her father committed arson. The county decides to place the girl in the care of Claudia’s parents while her father is still in jail.

6. If you are put out, at least you may still go to another place, while being put outdoors is a final condition. Claudia says that this is “like the difference between the concept of death and being, in fact, dead.”

7. Pecola’s father, Cholly, is in jail while her mother is staying with the family she worked for as a maid. Pecola’s brother, Sammy, is with another family.

8. Mama “never named anybody” when she complained about the behavior of a child, but these “soliloquies” were still said within earshot of the intended victim.

9. Frieda wants water so that she could clean off the steps, where Pecola’s blood has left a stain.

10. Claudia is afraid that her mama will drown Pecola.