Questions and Answers: Part II, pp. 166-242

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Questions
1. What does the island symbolize in the relationship between Cocoa and George, and how does that symbolism help to develop the plot in this section?

2. Why is it appropriate that George fears rejection during the trip to Willow Springs?

3. What role does the first week on the island play within the overall plot of the book?

4. What is the relationship between the fight waged by Cocoa and George and the primary themes of the book?

5. Why is the outcome of the fight expected, and what does this fact suggest about events to come?

Answers
1. The island symbolizes the differences in the personalities and backgrounds of Cocoa and George; the trip to Willow Springs thus helps to highlight the conflict that develops between the couple in this section.

2. George’s fear is appropriate because the island challenges the beliefs and assumptions that are most integral to his character. The trip constitutes a test of not only his patience but also his character.

3. The first week becomes the calm before the storm that follows. It provides opportunities for George to learn about Willow Springs and for the Days to contemplate their hopes for the family, especially the long-awaited arrival of heirs to their land and lifestyle.

4. The fight emphasizes the themes of history and identity in the novel. It begins with Cocoa’s insecurity about her skin color and ends with George’s defense of his previous involvement with a white woman. The debate over race suggests that neither character has yet come to terms with their own identities in the marriage.

5. The fight is the product of a long history between the characters; it raises issues that must be resolved by outside forces and thus portends only more, not less, conflict for the last half of the novel.

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Questions and Answers: Part I, pp. 66-165

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Questions and Answers: Part II and Conclusion, pp. 242-312