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

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Questions
1. What fears are shared by Cocoa and George during their romance, and what do those fears suggest about their future as a couple?

2. What does Miranda fear from the marriage of Cocoa and George?

3. How is Miranda’s character developed in this section, and what are the implications for the portrayal of motherhood in the novel?

4. How do the depictions of Candle Walk night impact the setting and plot?

5. What is the mood at the end of Part I, and what does that atmosphere portend for Part II?

Answers
1. Cocoa and George both fear the loss of the other; they believe their love is “too good to last.” These fears suggest that the future of the couple will be determined by their ability to reconcile differences in their background and beliefs.

2. Miranda fears that Cocoa will suffer as a wife and mother, much like the Day women of the past. The marriage symbolizes Cocoa’s transition into these roles and, accordingly, the possible realization of this fate.

3. The complexity of Miranda’s character emerges quite clearly in this section. She expresses both pride and regret over her role as the matriarch of her community. Her willingness to dedicate so much time and energy to her neighbors masks a neglect of her own needs and concerns that become apparent for the first time in this section of the book.

4. The evolution of the holiday challenges the spirit of generosity that inspires its customs. These changes introduce possible threats to the values at the core of island life.

5. It seems likely that Ruby will use her hoodoo power to evil ends in the near future. The atmosphere accordingly portends conflict and doom at the end of Part I; a battle between Ruby and Miranda seems imminent in Part II.

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Questions and Answers: Prologue and Part I, pp. 3-66

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