Questions and Answers Chapter 1

Study Questions
1. How does June die?

2. Why does Albertine return to the reservation?

3. Why does Zelda have a low opinion of June?

4. Does everyone in the Kashpaw family have a low opinion of June?

5. Grandma Kashpaw tells a story about June and the other children (Aurelia, Gordie, and Zelda). Why does the story seem important to them now?

6. Why won’t Eli ride with King?

7. How do you know that King can be violent and untrustworthy?

8. What is Eli’s skill?

9. What does King have to be stopped from doing to June’s car?

10. Why doesn’t Albertine tell Lipsha that June was his mother?

1. June gets out of a heated, warm car that she could have driven away and walks into a snowstorm. She knows it is snowing and that she is far from town.

2. She both wants to mourn June and confront her mother for the harsh way of telling her about June’s death.

3. June let men pay her way and used her looks to get by. She also sometimes looked for wealthy men to support her, and she was a heavy drinker.

4. No. Albertine and Eli both loved her, as did Grandma Kashpaw, for being stubborn, beautiful, and determined.

5. The story is about June directing the other children to hang her. In retrospect, since it seems that she chose to walk into the snowstorm and die, it seems to imply that she may have had a death wish even as a child.

6. King drives a red Firebird bought with the insurance money from June’s death. To most of the family, the car symbolizes June, and they do not want to treat it casually.

7. He first threatens to hit Lynette and later tries to drown her. He also once shot at Lipsha and is verbally aggressive with him as well.

8. Eli is a woodsman and hunter.

9. Gordie, King’s father, has to restrain him physically in order to keep him from beating June’s car to get at Lynette, who has locked herself inside.

10. Lipsha is convinced that any good mother would have found him and raised him, and wouldn’t have abandoned him even to someone as good as Grandma Kashpaw.

Questions and Answers Chapters 2 - 3

Study Questions
1. What does Marie respect about Sister Leopolda?

2. Why does Marie wish to escape her family reputation?

3. What is the attraction of joining the convent?

4. What is the cause of Marie's “stigmata”?

5. How does Sister Leopolda explain the wound to the other nuns?

6. What does Marie see that makes her stop reveling in being worshipped as a saint?

7. Why does Nector accuse Marie of stealing?

8. What does Marie show Nector that causes Nector to realize that no one will believe she forced him to have sex with her?

9. Where does Nector go with Marie?

10. Why does Nector fail to meet Lulu?

1. Marie respects Sister Leopolda's strength and determination.

2. The Lazarres are known as no-good drunks, and Marie wishes to be good.

3. Marie wants to best her nemesis, Sister Leopolda, in being good. By joining the convent, she thinks she can become better, more saint-like, and triumph. Also, she wants to escape her family name of Lazarre, which is widely known to be a dissolute and drunken white family. In addition to the possibility of sainthood, the convent seems to offer something good that cannot be denied by others.

4. Sister Leopolda stabs her in the palm with a fork. This leaves a bloody mark exactly where stigmata would be.

5. Sister Leopolda cannot confess her abuse of Marie, so she has claimed that the wound just appeared on Marie’s hand. The other nuns believe it is stigmata, one of the marks of a saint.

6. She sees how defeated and alone Sister Leopolda looks, and pities her.

7. She is running down the hill, away from the convent, and has a pillowcase marked with the name of the convent. Plus, she is from a disreputable family.

8. The pillowcase has hidden her bloody wound. This would make it nearly impossible for him to make the case that she physically forced him to have sex, particularly since she is a small, young girl.

9. Nector walks her home.

10. After meeting Marie, Nector feels emotionally tied to her and wants to protect her, even though he also wants Lulu.

Questions and Answers Chapter 4

Study Questions
1. How is June related to Grandma Kashpaw?

2. What strange behavior does June exhibit when she first arrives?

3. When does June begin to talk?

4. Who is June the most relaxed around?

5. Why does it seem natural that Eli and June would get along?

6. What characteristic traits do Marie and June share?

7. Why is there gossip about Marie? Is it true?

8. Where is Nector when he is not with his family?

9. Where does June choose to live at the end of the chapter?

10. What present does June leave for Marie?

1. June is Marie’s sister’s daughter, so June is Marie’s niece.

2. June is silent.

3. June only talks when she directs the other children to hang her, and then again in fury when Marie stops them.

4. June is most relaxed and at ease around Eli.

5. June spent the beginning of her life alone in the woods. She gets along well with Eli because that’s how he spends most of his time. Also, they share an understanding of silence.

6. They are both stubborn, determined, and strong.

7. People think that Eli’s frequent visits while Nector is gone are signs that Eli and Marie are having an affair. Nothing ever happens between Eli and Marie.

8. Nector is out drinking, most often. Also, once a week he sleeps with Lulu.

9. She chooses to live with Eli.

10. The beaded necklace the Indians gave her to protect themselves when they first found the wild girl in the woods.

Questions and Answers Chapters 5 - 6

Study Questions
1. Why does Beverly think that Henry Junior is his son?

2. Why does Beverly return to the reservation?

3. Beverly does not even ask Lulu if Henry Junior is his son, much less speak to the boy. Why?

4. Why does Nector return to the reservation?

5. What circumstance brings Nector and Lulu together?

6. What past action does Nector apologize to Lulu for in the car?

7. What does Lulu say that makes Nector vow never to see her again?

8. What political situation does Nector have to apologize to Lulu for?

9. In his distress, while trying to win back Lulu and leave Marie, what does Nector set on fire?

10. Where does Nector go at the end of the chapter? To which woman?

1. Beverly slept with Lulu after Henry’s funeral, and Henry Junior was born nine months later. Also, Beverly has formed a strong fictional attachment to the boy because he uses a photograph and made-up stories about Henry Junior while pitching his after-school workbooks.

2. Beverly returns to claim Henry Junior and sweep him off to an exciting urban life.

3. The disparity between Beverly’s fantasies and reality is so great that he is disoriented and confused. Plus, Lulu is a strong family woman who would not easily give up one of her boys. Beverly is intimidated.

4. Everyone outside the reservation wants Nector to pretend to die. Both in Hollywood and in paintings, the end result is always an image of an Indian dying. Nector wants to be appreciated while he is still alive.

5. A surplus of butter that needs to be in an air-conditioned or refrigerated environment.

6. Nector apologizes for failing to meet her when they were both teenagers. He also implicitly apologizes for loving and marrying Marie, although he also loves Lulu.

7. Lulu implies that she wouldn’t date, much less marry, Beverly, if Marie wasn’t in Nector’s life.

8. He has signed the tribal council order evicting her from the land that Henry Lamartine had squatted on many years ago.

9. He drops a cigarette on the note to Lulu, his proposal, and her house goes up in flames.

10. Nector goes home to Marie.

Questions and Answers Chapter 7

Study Questions
1. Why doesn’t Marie think that Sister Leopolda, despite her self-deprivations and holy attitude, could be a saint?

2. Why does Marie decide to visit Sister Leopolda?

3. Why does Marie put on her good royal plum dress? Why is it a mistake?

4. Why does Marie initially feel pity for Sister Leopolda?

5. Why does Marie ask Sister Leopolda to bless her and Zelda?

6. What does Sister Leopolda do when she is supposed to be blessing Marie?

7. Why does Marie replace the note on the kitchen table under the salt canister instead of the sugar canister?

8. What reason does Marie give for Nector not being able to enter the...

(The entire section is 484 words.)

Questions and Answers Chapters 8 - 10

Study Questions
1. Henry Junior is mentally unsound because of his experiences in Vietnam. How does Albertine realize this?

2. Who bought the red Oldsmobile convertible?

3. Who owns the red Oldsmobile convertible?

4. Why does Lyman damage the convertible?

5. Does Lyman’s damage to the car and deception about how it happened have the effect he wants?

6. What do Henry Junior and Lyman have a fistfight over? Why?

7. How does Henry Junior die?

8. What in particular makes Dot want Gerry to return to her?

9. If Gerry is so good at escaping prisons, why is he always recaptured?

10. What act of Gerry’s...

(The entire section is 534 words.)

Questions and Answers Chapter 11

Study Questions
1. What caused Gordie’s slide into serious alcoholism?

2. In the house, what does Gordie do to try to defend himself from a ghost?

3. Why does Gordie flee his house?

4. Why does Gordie keep driving after hitting the deer?

5. What causes the second apparition of June?

6. Why does Sister Mary try to dissuade Gordie from confessing?

7. Gordie’s confession terrifies Sister Mary. Why?

8. Why does Sister Mary go outside?

9. What is Sister Mary unable to explain to Gordie?

10. Where is Gordie at the end of the chapter?

1. June’s death caused...

(The entire section is 346 words.)

Questions and Answers Chapter 12

Study Questions
1. What makes Lipsha special? Does he retain this trait throughout the novel?

2. What is love medicine?

3. How does Lipsha find out about Lulu and Grandpa Kashpaw?

4. Why do Grandma Kashpaw and Lipsha decide to use love medicine?

5. What is it about the hunt for geese that depresses Lipsha?

6. What spiritual error does Lipsha know he is making when he buys the turkey hearts?

7. What ultimately kills Grandpa Kashpaw?

8. Why does Lipsha confess that he bought the turkey hearts at the store?

9. Give one textually supported explanation for Grandpa Kashpaw’s appearance after death.


(The entire section is 418 words.)

Questions and Answers Chapter 13

Study Questions
1. Why did Lulu ignore Nector in town?

2. What does Lulu threaten the tribal council with?

3. Why is Lulu bald?

4. Where does Lulu live after her house burns down?

5. How is the tribal council shamed into giving Lulu land?

6. What happens between Beverly and Lulu in this chapter?

7. Where does Lulu run into Nector and forgive him?

8. What physical ailment does Lulu suffer from in this chapter?

9. Something supernatural happens to Lulu at the end of the chapter. What is it?

10. How does it come about that Lulu forgives Marie, and Marie forgives Lulu?


(The entire section is 311 words.)

Questions and Answers Chapter 14

Study Questions
1. Who tells Lipsha who his parents are? Why?

2. Lipsha chooses to enlist. Why then does he run from the army police?

3. Why does Lipsha have such a good chance of being able to meet Gerry?

4. What do Howard and Lipsha have in common?

5. How do King, Lynette and Lipsha learn that Gerry is free?

6. How has King infuriated Gerry?

7. Why doesn’t King want to bet the red car? Why does Lipsha want to win?

8. How does Lipsha change the odds of the card game?

9. Where does Gerry go when the police knock?

10. If Lipsha is fleeing the army police, why doesn’t he cross the border with Gerry?...

(The entire section is 367 words.)