STUDY GUIDE: Like a Winding Sheet by Ann Petry
1. What were Mr. Johnson’s plans before waking up?
2. What did he do instead? Why? What part of the day was it?
3. Why did Mae make fun of him? Did Mr. Johnson enjoy her laughter?
4. How many times had Mr. Johnson been late to work? Why? For how long had he worked in those conditions?
5. How did Mr. Johnson feel about working the night shift and why?
6. What made Mae want to stay at home that day and what persuaded her to go to work just the same?
7. Why was Mr. Johnson late for work?
8. Name some of the changes Mr. Johnson would have liked to implement at his workplace.
9. Who was his boss? Why did Mr. Johnson try to avoid looking at her? Why did he get so upset at her? Can you describe his physical reaction during and after this incident? (what were his thoughts, feelings and desires)How was the lady’s reaction?
10. Why couldn’t he hit a woman?
11. How did he feel as the night approached?
12. How did the women at the next plant behaved as the night approach? Can you identify any similarities between Mr. Johnson’s feelings and these women’s?
13. What were Mr. Johnson’s thoughts as he waited to get his pay?
14. Why did he decide to take a cup of coffee? What happened in the restaurant? How did he feel towards the white girl?
15. Why couldn’t he grasp the bus overhead strap?
16. How did he feel when he got home?
17. How different was his attitude compared to Mae’s?
18. What comment caused Mr. Johnson to finally lose his temper?
19. What happened in the end?
20. Discuss: Are there any instances in the text that foreshadow the ending?
21. What can you say about his flashbacks? What do they say about his personality and relationship towards Mae?
22. Do you think he really wanted to attack his wife? Do you think he was a violent man? If not, why do you think he...