Chapters 16-17 Study Questions and Answers

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 331

1. What does July tell Maureen and Bam explains the chief's desire to learn to shoot?

2. Maureen concludes that they must leave the village because of Bam's reaction to the chief's request. Why must they do this?

3. Why does Martha think that July took the Smaleses to visit the chief?

4. Martha reveals she is pregnant. Why does this disturb her?

5. If July's pass book represents white power, why hasn't he destroyed it yet?

1. July says that the chief is all talk. The chief must obey those with greater force than he, whether they be white or black, and will try to join the winning side of any battle. The chief probably wants to learn to shoot to be associated with white power, the power of guns, and to raise his own status.

2. Maureen realizes that July is seen by his people as a sell-out for saving their lives. By running from the rioters and keeping his whites safe, July kept from aligning with the revolutionary forces trying to equalize blacks and whites. If the Smaleses do not obey the chief, July will be at risk.

3. Martha thinks that July petitioned for the chief to take the Smaleses in, rather than their village.

4. Usually Martha becomes pregnant once every two years, when July is allowed to visit. July has come home a year early, so the routine is disrupted and Martha will have another baby outside of her normal schedule. Her life has been disrupted.

5. July's pass book shows the collusion of the Smaleses in apartheid. They signed for his leave every two years and so tacitly participated in the system. Furthermore, the white government required all blacks to carry the pass book at all times. To divest himself of the pass book is a huge psychological move for July, one that he wants to make when he is certain it is justified. Although he believes the white reign is over, he wants outside confirmation before he destroys the pass book.

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