1. Why is Grant initially so reluctant to help Jefferson?
Answer for Study Question 1 >>
Grant’s reluctance stems from his inability to confront his own fears and insecurities. Initially he tells Tante Lou that he cannot help Jefferson, implying that Jefferson is beyond hope. When Grant visits Jefferson and Jefferson behaves aggressively, Grant tells his aunt that he does not wish to proceed because he refuses to let Jefferson make him feel guilty. Although Grant is convinced that Jefferson is trying to make him feel guilty, Jefferson seems to bear no malice toward Grant in particular. Grant’s unnecessary self-defense points to his subconscious conviction that he does bear a certain amount of the blame for Jefferson’s situation, or at least for refusing to try to help Jefferson live with dignity.
Grant fears failure. When he sees Jefferson’s poor mental and emotional state, he fears he might fail if he tries to help Jefferson. He also does not want to deal with Jefferson because Jefferson, by intentionally fulfilling whites’ stereotypes, forces Grant to look at a physical embodiment of all the brutishness white men …show more content…
Why do you think we never meet Vivian’s children? What does their absence from the novel say about Grant and his relationship with Vivian?
Answer for Study Question 3 >>
Gaines chooses the contents of the novel based on what Grant, the narrator, thinks important. We have access only to what Grant sees and hears and feels, and Grant shows very little interest in Vivian’s children. He only speaks of them once, and even then he only mentions them as part of a bid to be alone with Vivian. To Grant, the children represent obstacles to his relationship with Vivian. He speaks about running away with Vivian without thinking about the effect moving would have on her children. Although Grant muses about what to name his future children, we never learn the names of Vivian’s