TIM encounters a black man pushing a cart and singing, who also uses a lot of slang - “looka-year, buddy,” “is you got the dog?” and “daddy-o” (173).
What does TIM’s reaction to him say about TIM?
How does his reaction shift as the conversation progresses?
How does it connect with his grandfather’s last words?
What did you think about TIM’s breakfast choice versus what the counterman assumed he would order (178)?
Was it problematic that the counterman had an assumption about TIM?
Was TIM’s reaction/feelings about the counterman’s assumption problematic?
Is it a matter of “discipline” or is he being a “traitor” or something else?
Quote: (on Dr. Bledsoe) “Whether we liked him or not, he was never out of our minds. That was a secret of leadership” (179).
Is Dr. Bledsoe a good leader for African Americans? In what way or why not?
Is it okay for whites Americans to own or appreciate African art? Why or why not?
When the young man in Mr. Emerson’s office asks TIM about attending college in New England, TIM thinks to himself: “Did he mean Harvard? Was this good or bad? Where was it leading?” (183), do you think this is a good or bad thing?
The young man in the office says “Ambition is a wonderful force...but sometimes it can be blinding … On the other hand, it can make you successful--like my father … The only trouble with ambition is that it sometimes blinds one to realities …” (184).
What do you think this means?
Is this quote specifically directed at TIM for being African American? Or does he mean it for anyone?
Do you agree with this quote? Why or why not?
Another quote from the grandfather on page 186: “Don’t let no white man tell you his business, ‘cause after he tells you he’s liable to git shame he tole it to you and then he’ll hate you. Fact is, he was hating you all the time …”
What does this quote mean?
How does it connect to his last words from page 16 that we keep bringing up?
Reflect on Dr. Bledsoe’s letter on pages 190-191. Did it surprise you? Do you think Dr. Bledsoe was justified in his message? Do you think it comes from a positive place or is he just trying to save himself/the college?
Reflect on Mr. Emerson’s son - what do you think of him? Is he genuine in his desire to help? Or do you think there is something malicious or even racist behind it?