AUTUMN: Chapter 2 (Hereisthehouse…) and Chapter 3 (Hereisthefamily…) Questions and Answers

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 510

Chapter 2 (Hereisthehouseitisgreenandwhiteithasareddooritisverypretty itisveryprettyprettyprettyp)
Chapter 3 (Hereisthefamilymotherfatherdickandjanetheyliveinthegreen andwhitehousetheyareveryh)

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Study Questions
1. What is the history of the Breedloves’ home?

2. Why is the fact that “the furniture had aged without becoming familiar” significant?

3. What was “the only living thing” in the Breedloves’ house, and what does this phrase mean?

4. Why do the Breedloves live and stay in the house?

5. Why does Pecola hide beneath the sheets when Mrs. Breedlove wakes up?

6. What does Sammy say to Mrs. Breedlove as she fights Cholly?

7. How does Cholly fight Mrs. Breedlove?

8. How does Pecola make herself disappear?

9. Why is it so difficult for Mr. Yacobowski to notice Pecola, according to the narrator?

10. What is unusual about Miss Marie’s pet names for Pecola?

Answers
1. The building is now an abandoned store. There used to be a pizza parlor there, which replaced a real estate agency. Before the real estate agency, a family of gypsies lived there. But even before gypsies lived there, that store was occupied by the Breedloves.

2. A house is usually the scene of many significant events in the life of a family. The narrator mentions some typical instances of family life, such as a child losing a penny in the sofa, a drunk person playing a piano at a party, or a little girl decorating a Christmas tree. While most of us can look at an item in our home and remember something pleasant, no such memories exist in the Breedlove home. Since the Breedloves have no happy memories, it can be inferred that they have spent little time together as a family, loving and supporting each other.

3. “The only living thing” in the house is the coal stove, which means that it is the only thing in the house that changes its behavior and lives independently of others.

4. The Breedloves “lived there because they were poor and black, and they stayed there because they believed they were ugly.”

5. Pecola understands that Mrs. Breedlove is getting up in order to start a fight with Cholly, and hides in order to shield herself from the unpleasant scene.

6. Sammy yells, “Kill him! Kill him!”

7. Cholly fights her in the same way “a coward fights a man—with feet, the palms of his hands, and teeth.” It is implied that Cholly understands why Mrs. Breedlove needs to fight him, and that Cholly has decided not to hurt her as badly as he could because of this understanding.

8. She hides underneath her blanket, closes her eyes, and parts of her body begin to vanish. She has to lie very still in order for the bigger parts of her body, such as her stomach, to disappear. But try as she might, she can never make her eyes disappear.

9. The narrator wonders “how can a 52-year-old white immigrant storekeeper with the taste of potatoes and beer in his mouth” notice a little black girl since “nothing in his life even suggested that the feat was possible.”

10. Miss Marie’s pet names for Pecola are all connected with food. Miss Marie refers to Pecola as “dumplin’,” “chittlin’,” “puddin’,” “sweetnin’,” and “chicken.”

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