Tar Baby Chapter 6: Questions and Answers

Toni Morrison

Chapter 6: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What does Valerian want added to the Christmas feast?

2. How does Valerian feel about Son’s presence now?

3. When Valerian counts those who will be at his Christmas table, whom does he leave out?

4. How does Ondine feel about Son now? Why?

5. How does Sydney feel about a relationship between Son and Jadine?

6. What does Ondine refer to when she talks about her “crown”? Why?

7. How is the meal changed once company is not coming?

8. Who is invited to attend the reorganized Christmas feast?

9. What causes the quarrel between Valerian and others at the table?

10. What long-kept secret does Ondine reveal at the table?

Answers
1. Valerian wants Margaret to prepare “ollieballen,” a Dutch pastry his Grandmother Stadt had prepared.

2. Valerian feels that Son has brought good luck to the household.

3. Valerian leaves out Son, Sydney, and Ondine. He expects only their four invited guests to join him, Margaret, and Jadine.

4. Ondine dislikes Son because he is interested in Jadine as a woman. Alma Estee had given Son’s pajamas to Ondine, which were found in the bushes beneath Jade’s window. Son has no money or clear goals, and his eyes are full of wildness.

5. Sydney is not worried that Jade will get seriously involved with Son, a “swamp nigger.” She is too sensible.

6. Ondine’s “crown” is her niece, Jadine. Jadine represents all the success features admired by Ondine. Jadine has excelled in the white world as a model, received a degree from the Sorbonne, and appeared in a movie. Jadine is also financially independent.

7. Since Michael is not coming, Margaret has no intention of preparing the meal. Ondine takes over the meal preparation. She has a ham cooked already and will prepare the goose, substituted for the turkey.

8. Since the original guests are not coming, Valerian invites Ondine, Sydney, and Son to sit at the table with Margaret, Jadine, and himself.

9. The incident that creates the greatest problem occurs when Valerian announces casually that he had fired Gideon and Therese for stealing apples.

10. Ondine reveals the treatment Margaret had given her baby boy. Margaret had stuck needles into him and burned him with cigarettes.