Sociologist Orlando Patterson Calls Foothill Coll
Homegoing Reading Questions
As always, answer these questions as thoroughly as you can. And be sure to look up terms and include explanations of them if I ask you to do so. I’m asking you to go back to the Ness chapter to look at a few key passages, so we’ll pick up there on Thursday and work through as much of the novel as we can. I hope everyone is doing well, and I’m looking forward to talking about the book with you all on Thursday! -LauraChapter 4: “Ness”1) One issue that this chapter explores is how what sociologist Orlando Patterson calls “natal alienation” is fundamental to slavery, or part of its fundamental definition and experience. Look up what this term means and explain it here. Then, revisit the opening of this chapter where we learn about where Ness’s name comes from (70-1). Describe where her name comes from and what this scene has to do with natal alienation. 2) Much of this chapter is detailing the physical and psychological trauma that Ness experiences as a slave in the U.S. South and the effects this trauma has on her. Explain one way that her trauma plays out and include a passage that illustrates it. 3) This chapter is also about the sacrifices that Ness makes, both for Sam and for her son Kojo. Explain what sacrifices that she makes and think about why she makes them. What is the novel saying about slavery and sacrifice do you think? Chapter 5: “James”4) Central to this chapter is the meeting of James and Akosua. Describe how they meet and what their first and second encounters have to do with slavery exactly. See pages 95-6 and 97-100. 5) Why does James want to marry Akosua? What does it represent and how does he end up fulfilling his plan to marry her? What form of marriage is aspiring to here and why?
Chapter 6: “Kojo” 6) The central historical event of this chapter is the passing of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Look up what this is and explain it here. Explain also the role it plays in Kojo’s life and this chapter. Does it relate in any way to Buelah’s night terrors (120)? Chapter 7: “Abena” 7) This chapter is interesting for many reasons but especially in how it represents and discusses inheritance and family curses, which we talked about in reference to Effia in the first chapter. What does Abena fear that she is going to inherit, as Gyasi lays out in the opening page of the chapter (133)?8) Another theme that coincides with inheritance and family curses is fertility, or the lack thereof. How does the community think about the simultaneous occurrence of the lack of agricultural fertility and Abena’s infertility? What is their judgment of Abena and what does it tell us about the status of women in this village? (145-8).9) What family secrets are revealed at the end of the chapter and how does it shift the perspective of the family curse?