Topics for Further Study

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Walker has often been considered a black feminist writer. Does this story have a feminist message? If so, is the message any different than a similar message would be if written by a white feminist writer?

Dee and Maggie seem as different as night and day. Do either of them have any character traits in common with their mother? If so, what are these traits? What traits don't they share with their mother?

Consider Walker's portrayal of poverty in the story. Are there areas of the country where people live in similar conditions today? Where are they, and who lives there?

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