Toni Morrison, Louise Erdrich, and Eudora Welty

“Recitatif,” by Toni Morrison 

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1. How does Roberta remember the Maggie incident differently from Twyla?  Why does Twyla find this disturbing?

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2. Under what circumstances do Roberta and Twyla have their most hostile meeting?

3. The author does not clearly indicate the racial identity of the two girls, i.e., who is black, and who is white.  In a story that gives much descriptive detail, how do you explain this omission?

“The Red Convertible,” by Louise Erdrich 

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4. What talent does Lyman say he always had?

5. What does Lyman imply when he says that even when Henry returned from Vietnam, “for him it [the war] would keep on going”?

6. Why does Lyman deliberately trash the red convertible?

7. How is it clear that Henry is not trying to save himself?  What do his final words indicate?

“Why I Live at the P.O.,” by Eudora Welty 

8. Why is Sister (the narrator) skeptical about Stella-Rondo’s claim that her two-year-old daughter is adopted?

9. What evidence does the story give to justify Sister’s belief that “the whole entire house [is] on Stella-Rondo’s side and turned against [her]”?

10. What action of Uncle Rondo’s finally leads Sister to move out?  What does Sister do prior to moving out?

Extra credit: These three stories all deal with complex relationships between siblings or friends.  Does the relationship improve or deteriorate as each story progresses?  Are the relationship conflicts ultimately resolved in these stories?  Refer specifically to each story.