AUTUMN: Chapter 1 Questions and Answers
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?
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...
(The entire section is 446 words.)
AUTUMN: Chapter 2 (Hereisthehouse…) and Chapter 3 (Hereisthefamily…) Questions and Answers
Chapter 2 (Hereisthehouseitisgreenandwhiteithasareddooritisverypretty itisveryprettyprettyprettyp)
Chapter 3 (Hereisthefamilymotherfatherdickandjanetheyliveinthegreen andwhitehousetheyareveryh)
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?
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...
(The entire section is 510 words.)
WINTER: Chapter 4 Questions and Answers
1. Why does Maureen start a conversation with Claudia?
2. How does Frieda break up the circle of boys teasing Pecola?
3. Why do the boys stop teasing Pecola?
4. Why do Claudia and Frieda begin to like Maureen?
5. What was Claudia thinking about before it became clear that Maureen was not going to treat her to ice cream?
6. Why does Maureen tell Pecola not to eat the end of the cone?
7. Why do boys have belly-buttons, according to Maureen?
8. Why doesn’t Frieda want to go to Isaley’s?
9. How does Henry explain Poland’s and the Maginot Line’s visit?
10. What does Frieda know about Woodrow Cain that she threatens to tell everybody?
1. Maureen happens to have her school locker next to Claudia’s.
2. Frieda breaks into the circle by hitting Woodrow Cain over the head with her school books.
3. The boys stop teasing Pecola when they see Maureen in the distance. The boys are attracted to Maureen and do not want to be seen as bullies when she is watching.
4. Frieda and Claudia are surprised that Maureen would be so friendly to Pecola, and are pleased by her behavior. They are also still excited about their victory in the fight with the four boys.
5. When Claudia realizes that Maureen is not going to treat her, she attempts to conceal the fact that she “fully expected Maureen to buy [her and her sister] some ice cream, that for the past 120 seconds [she] had been selecting the flavor, that [she] had begun to like Maureen, and that neither [Claudia nor Frieda] had a penny.”
6. Maureen thinks that there could be a fly hiding in the tip of an ice cream cone.
7. Maureen isn’t sure why boys have belly buttons, but merely says that “boys have all sorts of things they don’t need.”
8. Frieda is afraid that Maureen could be sitting there.
9. Henry tells Claudia and Frieda that the prostitutes were “some members of [his] Bible class.” He was supposedly “reading scriptures” with them.
10. Frieda heard that Woodrow Cain has a bed-wetting problem.
WINTER: Chapter 5 (Seethecatitgoesmeow…) Questions and Answers
Chapter 5 (Seethecatitgoesmeowmeowcomeandplaycomeplaywithjane thekittenwillnotplayplayplaypla)
1. Why would a man want to marry a girl like Geraldine, according to the narrator?
2. Where would a woman like Geraldine want her own private parts to be, and why?
3. What does Geraldine smell like?
4. What did Geraldine forbid Junior to do?
5. Who did Junior play with?
6. What does Junior tell his parents when he is beaten up by a bunch of girls?
7. How do Junior’s parents respond to his story?
8. Junior notices that no one ever plays with Pecola. What does he believe is the reason for this?
9. What is Pecola’s first impression of Junior’s house?
10. Geraldine looked at Pecola and decided that she “had seen this little girl all of her life.” Explain what is meant by this phrase.
1. Men would always want to marry women like Geraldine because they would eat well and live in a clean house.
2. Geraldine would always wish that her private parts would be in a more convenient place, such as her armpit, so that her husband could have sex with her without her needing to take down her dress. Since sex was always an inconvenience to her, she would want to get it over with as quickly as possible.
3. Geraldine smells like wood and vanilla.
4. Geraldine never allowed her son to cry.
5. Junior would only play with Ralph Nisensky, who was two years younger than him and not much fun to be around.
6. Junior tells his parents that he was beaten up by Bay Boy. Bay Boy was one of the boys that teased Pecola until Frieda rescued her.
7. Geraldine was outraged, but Louis, the boy’s father, did not even look up from his paper.
8. Junior decides that no one ever plays with Pecola because she is ugly.
9. Pecola is impressed by the beautiful house.
10. Pecola is the type of girl that Geraldine has hated all her life. She decides that she is going to grow up to have low morals and bad manners. Her parents are loud and obnoxious, and do not have the sense to take care of her. These children “clowned on the playgrounds, broke things in dime stores, [and] ran in front of you on the street.” Geraldine had avoided this type of person all her life.
SPRING: Chapter 6 Questions and Answers
1. Why is Claudia jealous of Frieda?
2. What is Claudia’s initial reaction to the news about Mr. Henry?
3. What does being “ruined” mean to Frieda?
4. What happens when Miss Dunion suggests that Frieda should be taken to a doctor?
5. What is a “Maginot Line”?
6. Why do Frieda and Claudia go to the second-story porch?
7. How does Claudia react to Pecola’s smile when they meet at the house by the lake?
8. Where is Pecola going to go with Poland and China?
9. What is Mrs. Breedlove wearing while she works?
10. Describe what the little girl is wearing.
1. Claudia complains that her chest is much smaller than Frieda’s.
2. Claudia is jealous for a number of reasons. She is upset about having to hear the big news from Frieda, and complains that she “always misses stuff.” She also considers Frieda to be lucky to have been pinched by Mr. Henry, since she is so flat-chested she has “nothing to pinch.”
3. Frieda thinks that being “ruined” means that she will become “like the Maginot Line.” As the image comes to Frieda’s mind, they decide that being ruined means that Frieda will become fat.
4. Frieda’s mother begins to yell at Miss Dunion for suggesting that her daughter might be ruined.
5. The Maginot Line was the name of an elaborate blockade by soldiers along the border of France during World War II. The Maginot Line was intended to stop an invasion of France by Germany, but the Germans were able to bypass the French defenses.
6. The girls hear loud music playing from upstairs and decide to see if Pecola is upstairs.
7. Claudia becomes happy when she sees Pecola’s smile. She had not realized that she had rarely seen Pecola smile, and “is surprised at the pleasure” that she receives from this smile.
8. Pecola claims that China is going to take her to Cleveland, while Poland is going to take her to Chicago.
9. Mrs. Breedlove is wearing a white uniform.
10. The little girl is dressed in a pink dress with pink bunny slippers. Her hair is blond and braided.
SPRING: Chapter 7 (Seemothermotherisvery…) Questions and Answers
Chapter 7 (Seemothermotherisverynicemotherwillyouplaywithjane motherlaughslaughmotherlaughla)
1. How many brothers and sisters did Pauline have?
2. What fantasies kept her from doing her work?
3. How does Pauline feel when Cholly tickles her?
4. How does Pauline’s happiness with Cholly compare with her fantasies?
5. What becomes the focus of their quarrels?
6. How is Pauline surprised by Cholly when she tells him she is pregnant?
7. What does the doctor say about Pauline and black women in general?
8. Name the groups and organizations of which Pauline is a member.
9. What would Mr. Fisher rather do than sell real estate?
10. Where is the “meaningfulness” in Pauline’s life?
1. Pauline had ten brothers and sisters; she was the ninth of eleven children.
2. “Fantasies about men and love and touching” were distracting her from her work.
3. When Cholly tickles her foot, Pauline feels all of the pleasant memories of her youth and the colors she associates with these memories. The yellow from the lemonade she drank, the purple of the berries she picked, and the green of the grass “all come together … inside [her].”
4. Pauline feels the happiness of her fantasies “minus the gloom of setting suns and lonely river banks.” There was always a streak of melancholy in her fantasies because she was isolated and alone. Once she meets Cholly, she understands what it truly feels like to be in love.
5. Money becomes the focus of their quarrels. Pauline needs money to buy clothes, while Cholly needs money to get drunk.
6. Cholly is pleased when he finds out that she is pregnant.
7. The doctor says that “these here women” deliver with no pain, “just like horses.”
8. In addition to being an active member of the local church, Pauline is a member of the Stewardess Board No. 3 and Ladies Circle No. 1.
9. Mr. Fisher would rather sell Pauline’s berry cobblers than real estate.
10. Pauline has found significance and “meaningfulness” in her work.
SPRING: Chapter 8 (Seefatherheisbigand…) Questions and Answers
Chapter 8 (Seefatherheisbigandstrongfatherwillyouplaywithjanefatheris smilingsmilefathersmilesmile)
1. How does Aunt Jimmy supposedly die?
2. What are the future plans for Cholly after Aunt Jimmy’s death?
3. How does Cholly embarrass himself asking for a cigarette?
4. Why does Cholly miss Aunt Jimmy when he goes into the field with Darlene?
5. Why doesn’t Cholly live with his uncle, O. V.?
6. How does “a Georgia black boy” run away?
7. Why does the man at the bus window sell Cholly an under-twelve bus ticket even though he is certain Cholly is lying about his age?
8. What makes Cholly cry...
(The entire section is 446 words.)
SPRING: Chapter 9 (Seethedogbowwow…) Questions and Answers
Chapter 9 (Seethedogbowwowgoesthedogdoyouwanttoplaydoyouwant toplaywithjaneseethedogrunr)
1. What is a “misanthrope”?
2. What is the significance of Soaphead Church’s name?
3. What is the one thing that disgusts him more than touching a woman?
4. What does Pecola’s request for blue eyes do to him?
5. Why does Evil exist, according to Soaphead Church?
6. What is meant when it is written that Soaphead Church’s business “is dread”?
7. How does Soaphead Church address God in his letter?
8. What does Soaphead Church mean when he writes that Velma left him “the way people leave a motel...
(The entire section is 373 words.)
SUMMER: Chapter 10 and Chapter 11 (Looklookherecomes…) Questions and Answers
Chapter11 (Looklookherecomesafriendthefriendwillplaywithjanetheywill playagoodgameplayjaneplay)
1. What do Claudia and Frieda think about until they hear that Pecola is pregnant?
2. How long does it take for Claudia and Frieda to realize that Pecola is pregnant?
3. What type of “law” do the women say there should be against Cholly’s actions?
4. What is Claudia’s “only handicap”?
5. How long do the sisters promise to be good if God lets the baby live?
6. What reason does Pecola give for other people turning away from her?
7. How does Pecola’s madness protect her from other people?...
(The entire section is 279 words.)