Tar Baby Chapter 3: Questions and Answers

Toni Morrison

Chapter 3: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. To what is the fog compared?

2. What is the previously mentioned affliction of Margaret, made more evident in this reading?

3. What pronunciation by Margaret does Valerian correct…or ridicule? What does this word refer to?

4. Who are the guests expected for Christmas at L’Arbe de la Croix?

5. What are Valerian’s and Margaret’s opposing views about the following line of poetry: “And he glittered when he walked”?

6. What causes Margaret to leave the dinner table in the middle of the meal?

7. What behavior of Michael as a child most bothers Valerian now?

8. How did Jadine react when Valerian criticized his wife at the dinner table?

9. What is Valerian’s opinion of Michael, his son?

10. What is Valerian’s reaction to the black intruder found in Margaret’s closet?

Answers
1. The fog is compared to the gray, flowing hair of Margaret’s two aunts from Buffalo.

2. Margaret’s increasing forgetfulness and periods of unawareness are made more evident in this chapter.

3. Valerian corrects Margaret’s pronunciation of Eurydice, the wife of Orpheus in Greek mythology. Orpheus pleads for her release from Hades.

4. Although Valerian is doubtful that they will arrive, Margaret expects their son, Michael; his teacher, B. J. Bridges, who will bring a friend; and Dr. Michelin.

5. Margaret credits Michael’s former teacher, B. J. Bridges, with writing this line. Valerian says she is wrong.

6. Valerian’s unrelenting criticism and his calling her a high- school dropout cause Margaret to flee the table.

7. Valerian is most bothered by his memories of Michael, hidden from the world in a bathroom cabinet beneath the sink, singing an unknown song.

8. Jadine tried to be the peacemaker between Valerian and Margaret. She gently supported some of Margaret’s statements and tried to soften Valerian’s harsh criticism.

9. Valerian thinks his son was spoiled, but also often ignored by Margaret during his growing years. His childhood experiences, causing Michael to remain an adolescent in supporting a cause, never allowed him to become a successful businessman like his father.

10. Valerian, to everyone’s amazement, offered the black intruder a drink.