Questions and Answers: Act II, Scenes 1-3
1. What are the differences between Molly and Mattie? How do these characters act as foils for each other?
2. Why is Jeremy fired from his job?
3. Who is Joe Turner, and how has he altered the course of Herald’s life?
4. According to Bynum, how might Herald recover his identity?
5. Why are Herald and Mattie attracted to one another?
1. Molly is an independent woman, traveling on her own and loving and trusting nobody. Mattie wants someone stable to love, and this makes her seem more dependent and lonely. Molly refuses to work, while Mattie must work to sustain herself. They are foils for each other in that they each illuminate the contrasting qualities of the other.
2. Jeremy gets fired from his road-building job because he refuses to pay an extortionist fee that a white man charges all the black laborers. Jeremy appears to be a victim of racism, and the incident, coupled with the availability and willingness of Molly, causes him to decide to leave the boardinghouse and move on.
3. Joe Turner is a powerful white man who kidnapped Herald and made him work on a chain gang for seven years. This altered Herald’s life because he was forcefully taken away from his wife and baby daughter. Ultimately, Joe Turner caused Herald to lose his wife and, more importantly, his identity.
4. Bynum tells Herald that he can...
(The entire section is 318 words.)