Introduction: Questions and Answers
1. What was the name of the town near the Bottom?
2. Where was the town?
3. What grew on the Bottom before the spread of the town?
4. What were the names of the three businesses that the townspeople planned to destroy?
5. What does the word raze mean?
6. What were the two rewards the white slave owner promised the slave for completing the chores?
7. What was the name of the hilly land where the black people lived?
8. How did the hilly land get its name?
9. Who was the little girl introduced in the chapter who grew into a woman in the Bottom?
10. What did the white people below think about the hilly land?
1. The name of the town was Medallion.
2. The town was in a valley in Ohio.
3. Before the spread of the town, trees grew on the Bottom.
4. The names of the three businesses that the townspeople planned to destroy were Reba’s Grill, the Time and a Half Pool Hall, and Irene’s Palace of Cosmetology.
5. The word raze means to destroy or to level.
6. The two rewards the white slave owner promised the slave for completing the chores were freedom and a parcel of land.
7. The hilly land where the black people lived was the Bottom.
8. The hilly land got its name because the slave owner said that the land was the bottom of Heaven.
9. The little girl introduced in the chapter and who grew into a woman in the Bottom is Sula.
10. The white people eventually viewed the hilly land as attractive.
Chapter 1: 1919 Questions and Answers
1. What event did Shadrack establish?
2. In what year did Shadrack receive his discharge from the hospital?
3. What did Shadrack feel the first time he encountered shellfire?
4. What were the two possible reasons that the hospital discharged Shadrack?
5. What were the charges the police listed for arresting Shadrack?
6. What road did Shadrack march down annually?
7. What two things did Shadrack carry on his trip down Carpenter’s Road?
8. In what year did Shadrack establish the national holiday?
9. What appeal did he give to the people of the Bottom each January 3rd?
10. What was the reasoning behind Shadrack’s establishment of National Suicide Day?
1. Shadrack established National Suicide Day.
2. Shadrack received his discharge from the hospital in 1919.
3. Shadrack felt only a tack in his shoe the first time he encountered shellfire.
4. The hospital discharged Shadrack because of his violence or another priority, such as the limited number of beds in the hospital.
5. The charges the police listed for arresting Shadrack were vagrancy and intoxication.
6. Shadrack marched down Carpenter’s Road annually.
7. Shadrack carried a hangman’s rope and a cow’s bell on his trip down Carpenter’s Road.
8. Shadrack established the national holiday in 1920.
9. Each January 3rd, Shadrack told the people this was their only chance to kill others or themselves.
10. The reasoning behind Shadrack’s establishment of National Suicide Day was to establish order because Shadrack was afraid of the unexpected.
Chapter 2: 1920 Questions and Answers
1. Where did Wiley Wright live?
2. Whom did Wiley Wright marry?
3. What was Wiley Wright’s daughter’s name?
4. In what city was Helene born?
5. Who was Helene’s mother?
6. In what house was Helene born?
7. How did Helene and Nel know that they were too late to see Cecile alive?
8. What was Helene’s reaction when the conductor spoke disparagingly to her?
9. Which of the discoveries that Nel made on her trip to New Orleans was most important?
10. Who was Nel’s friend?
1. Wiley Wright lived in Medallion, Ohio.
2. Wiley Wright married Helene.
3. Nel was Wiley Wright’s daughter.
4. Helene was born in New Orleans.
5. Helene’s mother was Rochelle.
6. Helene was born in Sundown House.
7. Helene and Nel knew that they were too late to see Cecile alive when they saw the black crepe wreath with the purple ribbon.
8. When the conductor spoke disparagingly to Helene, Helene smiled, and that brought her the contempt of the black men in the train car.
9. The most important discovery that Nel made on her trip to New Orleans was that she was herself, not her parents or anyone else.
10. Nel’s friend was Sula.
Chapter 3: 1921 Questions and Answers
1. What was Sula’s relationship to Eva?
2. Who was Eva’s husband?
3. Name Eva’s three children.
4. How was Eva different when she returned to the Bottom?
5. How was Plum different when he returned to the Bottom?
6. What happened to Plum?
7. Who were the first people to join Shadrack?
8. Why did Hannah make love during the day?
9. What did Sula learn about making love from her mother?
10. What was Tar Baby’s bad habit?
1. Sula was Eva’s granddaughter.
2. Eva’s husband was BoyBoy.
3. Eva’s three children are Hannah, Plum (or Ralph), and Eva (or Pearl).
4. Eva was different when she returned to the Bottom because she was missing a leg.
5. Plum was different when he returned to the Bottom because he was a drug addict.
6. Plum’s mother, Eva, set him on fire.
7. The first people to join Shadrack were the three deweys and Tar Baby.
8. Hannah made love during the day because sleeping with someone was a commitment and an act of trust.
9. Sula learned from her mother that making love was pleasant, unremarkable, and a frequent occurrence.
10. Tar Baby’s bad habit was drinking wine.
Chapter 4: 1922 Questions and Answers
1. What did Nel’s mother want Nel to do to make her nose attractive?
2. How did Sula convince the boys that she was not afraid of them and could take care of herself?
3. What disturbing thing did Sula hear her mother say?
4. How did Chicken Little die?
5. How long was it before the family of Chicken Little received his body?
6. Who found the body of Chicken Little?
7. What answer did Shadrack make to the unasked question?
8. What did Sula lose when Chicken Little died?
9. What does Morrison say happens to a handclasp?
10. What did Nel say about Sula’s part in the accident?
1. Nel’s mother wants Nel to sleep with a clothespin on her nose to make her nose more attractive.
2. Sula convinced the boys she was not afraid of them by showing them a knife and cutting off the tip of her own finger.
3. Sula heard her mother say she loved but did not like her daughter.
4. Chicken Little drowned when his body flew from Sula’s grasp while she was swinging him near the water.
5. It was three days before the family of Chicken Little received his body.
6. The bargeman found the body of Chicken Little.
7. Shadrack’s answer to the unasked question was, “Always.”
8. Sula lost her belt when Chicken Little died.
9. Morrison said a handclasp would stay above ground forever.
10. Nel told Sula that it was not Sula’s fault.
Chapter 5: 1923 Questions and Answers
1. What was the first strange thing that happened?
2. What was the second strange thing that happened?
3. What are Kentucky Wonders?
4. In what year did Eva’s husband leave her?
5. What was the number that Eva and Hannah both knew from the dream book?
6. How did Mr. and Mrs. Suggs put out the fire on Hannah?
7. Who saved Eva’s life in the hospital?
8. Whom did Eva see not helping Hannah during the fire?
9. How long did Eva curse Willy?
10. What dream did Hannah have before the fire?
1. The first strange thing that happened was the wind.
2. The second strange thing that happened was when Hannah took the Kentucky Wonders and a bowl into her mother’s room.
3. Kentucky Wonders are a type of green bean or string bean.
4. Eva’s husband left her in 1895.
5. The number that Eva and Hannah both knew from the dream book was 522.
6. Mr. and Mrs. Suggs put out the fire on Hannah by throwing a tub of hot water—with tomatoes still in it—on the burning woman.
7. Willy Field was the orderly who saved Eva’s life in the hospital.
8. Eva saw Sula not helping Hannah during the fire.
9. Eva cursed Willy for 37 years for saving her.
10. Hannah dreamed of a wedding and a red wedding dress.
Chapter 6: 1927 Questions and Answers
1. What was the social event that Helene Wright was preparing for at the beginning of “1927”?
2. Why did the Wright family not send invitations?
3. In which quartet did Jude Greene sing?
4. Where did Jude work?
5. What job did Jude want?
6. Why did Jude not achieve the job he desired?
7. Why were the old dancing with the young, the church women tapping their feet, and the boys dancing with their sisters?
8. How old was Jude at the wedding?
9. Who left the Bottom at the end of the wedding?
10. When would Sula return to the Bottom?
1. The social event that Helene...
(The entire section is 221 words.)
Chapter 7: 1937 Questions and Answers
1. How long did it take for Sula to return to the Bottom after Nel’s wedding?
2. What plague accompanied Sula?
3. Why did the people of the Bottom do nothing to rid themselves of the plague?
4. How did Sula get Eva out of the house?
5. What did Sula tell Nel that she had witnessed with Eva?
6. How did Nel feel about the return of Sula?
7. Why was Nel surprised that Sula had asked Laura to leave?
8. Where had Sula attended college?
9. Why did Sula tell Nel she had moved Eva into the home?
10. With whom did Jude leave?
1. It took Sula ten years to return to the...
(The entire section is 245 words.)
Chapter 8: 1939 Questions and Answers
1. What does it mean when Ajax had the conviction that Sula would very soon “like all of her sisters before her, put to him the death-knell question ‘Where have you been?’”
2. Why was Betty angry with Sula?
3. What was Betty’s child’s name?
4. What had Dessie seen that upset her?
5. What was Ajax’s real name?
6. At his arrest, what were the charges against Tar Baby?
7. Why did Ajax leave Sula?
8. What did Mr. Finley do that angered Ajax?
9. What was the first gift that Ajax brought Sula?
10. What item did Sula find which helped her to know that Ajax was not a dream?
(The entire section is 255 words.)
Chapter 9: 1940 Questions and Answers
1. How long had it been since Nel had last seen Sula when the chapter “1940” begins?
2. Where did Nel find the money to care for her family?
3. At what address did Sula live?
4. What did Sula ask Nel to buy for her?
5. What two things did Nel find in Sula’s purse?
6. How did Nel feel about work?
7. How did Sula feel about work?
8. How did Sula say being mean to someone and loving someone were alike?
9. How did Sula say people would eventually feel about her?
10. What news did Sula want to share with Nel at the end of “1940”?
1. When the chapter “1940”...
(The entire section is 204 words.)
Chapter 10: 1941 Questions and Answers
1. What was Sula’s last name?
2. What was the hymn sung at Sula’s funeral?
3. What were the two things under construction?
4. What did Shadrack see in the birthmark above Sula’s eye?
5. What did the purple-and-white belt symbolize for Shadrack?
6. How did Shadrack find out that Sula was dead?
7. Who was the first person to die at the tunnel?
8. How did most of the people react to Shadrack on this National Suicide Day?
9. How did the people begin to treat each other after the death of Sula?
10. How does the reader know that Shadrack was improving?
(The entire section is 227 words.)
Chapter 11: 1965 Questions and Answers
1. Of whom did the young men of 1965 remind Nel?
2. Why were more homes for the elderly necessary in Medallion?
3. How many children did Nel have?
4. What was happening to land in the Bottom in 1965?
5. Nel persisted in doing an activity that most people in the Bottom did not do. What was this activity?
6. What did Eva imagine she was doing when Nel visited?
7. Whom did Eva call Nel at the end of the visit?
8. Whom did Nel meet on the way to the cemetery?
9. What was the song sung at the cemetery for Sula?
10. What food did Eva say that Nel had eaten?
(The entire section is 219 words.)