Chapters 13-15 Study Questions and Answers

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 324

1. Why does Maureen tell July that Bam won't steal the truck?

2. If the village is July's, why do the Smaleses have to visit the chief?

3. Why does the chief think that the whites will kill all the blacks?

4. What does the chief ask Bam to do for him? Why does Bam refuse?

5. The chief calls July by the name "Mwawate." What does this mean?

1. July and Bam both want the truck very badly. Since the exhaust pipe has broken and July cannot fix it, Maureen tells him that Bam will. Then she reassures him that Bam won't steal the truck. This is revealing because it illustrates that Bam no longer owns the truck; he would have to "steal" it because it is now July's.

2. July is the head of his small village, but several villages are ruled by one chief. The chief has called for the Smaleses to be introduced to him, and so the Smaleses must go.

3. Like Martha, the chief cannot conceptualize the whites' loss of power. The government is in the midst of changing hands, and the whites will probably fight the blacks, but it is unlikely that the whites will triumph. However, the chief cannot imagine a world where white skin doesn't connote power, wealth, and the ability to punish those who disagree.

4. The chief asks Bam to teach some of the villagers, including the chief, how to shoot his gun. Bam refuses because the chief says that the aim of these lessons would be to resist the nationalistic blacks and so support the whites. Bam's liberal ideas won't let him aid in the death of countrymen at each other's hands. He doesn't want to help with killing, particularly with killing that opposes his beliefs.

5. July's real name is Mwawate. Even after living with him for weeks, the Smaleses do not know July's real name, which reveals yet another layer of assumptions they did not know they had.

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