1) Who narrates this story? What voices and points of view are used and how do they affect our understanding of the narrative?
2) What is the significance of the Dick and Jane opening?
3) Comment on the preface. Who is speaking, from where? What is the predominant metaphor? What do we find out in the preface?
4) Discuss Claudias dolls. What kind of dolls are they and what does she do with them? Does she do this to anyone else?
5) Comment on the description of the Breedloves ugliness.
How does Pecola feel about this?
6) What is the significance of the scene at Mr. Yacobowskis store?
How does Pecola react to this?
7) Who is Maureen Peal and what is Claudias attitude toward her?
8) Discuss the scene in which the boys terrorize Pecola.
9) How does the narrator characterize women like Geraldine?
10) What is Geraldines reaction to Pecola?
11) Discuss Pollys upbringing and values. How do the movies affect her? What attitudes toward herself and her family does she develop?
How does she behave toward whites vs. toward blacks and why?
12) Whom does Cholly identify with as a boy? Whom does this resemble?
13) How does the narrator describe Miss Alice and Mrs. Gaines on pages 137-9?
14) How does Cholly react to the white men who interrupt him and Darlene?
Why does he react in the way he does?
15) Discuss Chollys rape of his daughter. How is this scene described?
16) Describe Soaphead Church.
17) Why does Pecola come to see Soaphead and how does he react?
18) Discuss Soaphead Churchs letter to God.
19) How do others react to Pecolas rape? What do Claudia and Frieda do?
20) Whom does Pecola talk to in the penultimate section?
21) Comment on Claudias concluding remarks on pages 204-6.
22) What does Morrison emphasize at the beginning of her Afterword?
23) Discuss the overall structure of the novel, and Morrisons comments on it on page 211.
24) Summarize Morrisons discussion of her use of language on pages 211-5.
25) What problem does Morrison address on pages 214-5?