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Suggested Essay Topics

AUTUMN
Chapter 1

1. Is Claudia fond of her mother? Does the mother’s actions in this chapter make her a sympathetic character? Why or why not?

2. What sort of role does shame play in the lives of these girls?

Chapter 2 (Hereisthehouseitisgreenandwhite…) and Chapter 3 (Hereisthefamilymotherfather…)
1. Is there a piece of furniture or article of clothing that you especially like because of its connection with a special event in your life? What is this special event, and what role did this item play in that event?

2. “Mrs. Breedlove was not interested in Christ the Redeemer, but rather Christ the Judge.” Explain what is meant by this sentence.

3. Explain the use of dandelions as a symbol in this chapter.

WINTER
Chapter 4

1. Could Pecola and Maureen have maintained a friendship if Claudia and Frieda had not argued with Maureen?

2. How does the children’s discovery of Mr. Henry with the prostitutes change their perception of him?

3. Claudia hates Maureen Peal and wishes to destroy her. Pecola wishes to become Maureen Peal. What is Frieda’s reaction to Maureen Peal? Compare and contrast her behavior with Maureen to Claudia’s and Pecola’s behavior.

Chapter 5 (Seethecatitgoesmeow…)
1. What do you believe the symbol of the statue of Jesus at the end of the chapter represents?

2. What do you think Geraldine will do after kicking Pecola out of the house?

3. Why do Pecola and the cat identify with each other so easily?

SPRING
Chapter 6

1. Compare and contrast the characters of Mrs. Breedlove and Mrs. MacTeer (Claudia and Frieda’s mother).

2. What sort of relationship does Mrs. Breedlove have with the little white girl in the pink dress? Can you compare this with any other relationship previously shown or mentioned in the novel?

3. What is the significance of Miss Marie’s nickname?

Chapter 7 (Seemothermotherisverynice…)
1. Having read about Pauline’s dreams and the effect that these dreams have had upon her life, what can be said about Pecola’s use of fantasy and the effect this fantasy will...

(The entire section is 496 words.)