Ann Petry (1908-97)
"In Darkness and Confusion" (1947)
See this useful site, especially if you are doing a group
Things to Consider:
- Historical Context: Harlem in 1943
(Urban Race Riots )
- Images of Darkness
- Portrayal of Confusion
- Significance of the Title
- Bloodshed as Sacrifice/Ritual (An interesting article
- Identity: Individual vs. Member of Community
- Speech, Writing, Actions, and Other Forms of Self-Expression
- Describe the relationship between Pink and William Jones at
of the story.
- Explain: "The very stealth of their movements revealed
intent that frightened him" (357).
- Why are the "bold-eyed women" so problematic for William?
- Why is William able to speak so more confidently at the
he is at the school?
- Why does the white cop shoot the black soldier? Is the
- Why does William get so upset at the sight of the shooting?
- Explain: "He got the feeling that he had lost his
a person with a free will of his own" (366).
- Why does Pink knock down the gate of the liquor store?
- Why is William finally able to speak during a moment of
- To whom are his final words addressed?
Other Discussion Questions:
- Why does Annie May look at William with "open, jeering
eyes" (355)? What does this mean?
- Explain: "It was the best he could do" (357).
- Why is William so frustrated after his conversation with
- What has happened to Sam?
- Why doesn't William want to tell Pink about Sam?
- Why has William stopped going to church?
- Why does William begin to feel powerful?
- Why does William tell Pink about Sam in the middle of the
- Why is William proud of Pink for smashing the window?
- Why does the feeling of power and strength leave William?
- What does William finally understand about Annie May's
- Why doesn't William like the blues he hears at the one
this dislike significant?
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