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    Q&A | May 11, 2015

    Heidi Pitlor: IMG Powell’s Q&A: Heidi Pitlor



    Describe your latest book. My novel, The Daylight Marriage, is about a wife and mother who goes missing one day. The narrative alternates between... Continue »
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      The Daylight Marriage

      Heidi Pitlor 9781616203689

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1 Burnside Literature- A to Z

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The Wake of the Wind

by

The Wake of the Wind Cover

 

 

Reading Group Guide

1. Why does Cooper begin The Wake of the Wind with the prologue about Africa and the descriptions of Suwaibu and Kola's capture by slave traders and their years in slavery? Do they do more than serve as historical background for the story of Lifee and Mor? Are there parallels between the journeys Suwaibu and Kola make and Lifee and Mor's journey across the American South after the Civil War?

2. After Lifee gains her freedom, she tells her former mistress, "Miz Morella, white folks ain't been taking care of us. We have been taking care of white folks. Better ask what you all will do when we are gone and slavery is no more" [p. 51]. How does the novel bring to light the far-reaching repercussions of the dismantling of the slave system? How does the white population limit the freedom of African Americans even after the law has emancipated them? Which segment of white society is most responsible for the rise of racial violence after the war and why? Do Cooper's explanations of the sources of racism remain valid today?

3. What values guide Mor and Lifee as they build a life for themselves and their children? How do they impart these values not only through words but also through their actions? Do you think the portrait Cooper paints is idealized? Are her descriptions of white America (for example, Mor's conversation with his children [pp. 226-228] and Able's discussion of his experiences at college [p. 334]) accurate?

4. What do Cooper's novels share with other books, both fiction and nonfiction, that you have read about the Civil War period? Do her descriptions of the relationships between African Americans and whites before and immediately following the war differ from your previous impressions or beliefs? In what ways does Cooper challenge the traditional depiction of the boundaries between slave and master, black and white? Which characters or relationships do you find particularly surprising? Are the white characters as fully developed as the African Americans are?

5. Cooper touches on a wide range of social, economic, and political issues in her writing, including the historical divisions between races and classes; interracial relationships; the significance of complexion in society in general and within the African American community specifically; and the importance of education. What techniques does she use to incorporate these subjects without disrupting the flow of the stories? In what ways can fiction be more effective than nonfiction in revealing the forces that shape our world?

6. In describing Cooper's writing, Alice Walker said, "Her style is deceptively simple and direct and the vale of tears in which her characters reside is never so deep that a rich chuckle at a foolish person's foolishness cannot be heard." How do these traits mirror classic forms of storytelling, from myths and Biblical parables to the folk stories passed down through oral traditions? Why do you think Cooper may have chosen to use these timeless techniques to tell her stories?

Product Details

ISBN:
9780385487054
Author:
Cooper, J. California
Author:
Cooper, California
Author:
Cooper, J. California
Publisher:
Anchor Books
Location:
New York :
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Afro-americans
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Afro-American families
Subject:
Texas
Subject:
African Americans
Subject:
African American families
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
105-272
Publication Date:
19991231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
7.86x5.86x.90 in. .74 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

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