A Thousand Never Evers
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Our narrator is using "I" and "me," so we know this novel is told in first person point of view. We also know our narrator is a girl who just finished 6th grade.
What can we infer (figure out) from the narrator walking to the "white side"?
Medgar Evers was a civil rights leader from Mississippi who fought against segregation. He was assassinated in 1963. (This annotation contains an image)
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently... Is there a word on this page you need to look up?
Addie Ann uses a lot of Southern expressions. This one is a simile. A simile is a type of figurative language that compares two very different things to reveal a certain quality they have in common. Here, it shows that Mama's worry and anger always seem to come together, just like biscuits and gravy always seem to come together. Watch this video and pay attention to all the different types of figurative language. (This annotation contains a video)
List three details from this chapter that show that Addie and her family are poor.
Notice how the writer chooses words that are harsh, like hunching and cutting to describe the work in the garden. The work in Mr. Adam's kitchen seems much nicer. Which words suggest that the kitchen is luxurious?
A black and white TV with only three channels may sound very primitive to you, but in 1963, there were only three channels, and colored television didn't come out until 1966.
List three details that suggest that Mr. Adams is very old.
What can you infer about how Mr. Adams treats African Americans from these paragraphs?
Although we don't know her very well yet, Addie Ann seems to see the good things in life--like the magnolia bloom and how she thinks it means that even though there is death, the beauty of life goes on. She also has a big heart and cares for others. She worries about Uncle Bump and how people treat him.
What word best describes the sheriff and the mayor?
Based on this sentence, what kind of expression do the sheriff and mayor most likely have on their faces?
This sentence should make you think. Do you believe the mayor and the sheriff will truly share the land with African Americans and allow the entire community to use the house?
Hoop cheese, also known as "farmer's cheese" is an old fashioned kind of cheese and very hard to find today. Most people say it tastes like a very mild cheddar. (This annotation contains an image)
This shows that Elmira is
Why do you think Addie Ann changes her mind about going to the meeting?
Many states in the South tried to prevent African Americans from voting by imposing the poll tax (a tax to vote), a literacy test, and residency requirements. The tax was impossible for many poor African American families to pay and the literacy test was extremely difficult--even for the very well educated.
Cassius Clay is a famous African American boxer, known to most as Muhammed Ali. (This annotation contains an image)
On one of the first few pages of this novel, there is a quote by Medgar Evers: "The things that I don't like I will try to change." Do you think Addie Ann may need to think about his message? How would Elias feel about this quote?
This group is more commonly known as the NAACP. (This annotation contains an image)
Jim Crow laws were laws that segregated (separated) blacks from whites in all public facilities and buildings. Watch this video about the history of Jim Crow laws. (This annotation contains a video)
On August 28, 1963, the historic March on Washington occurred. In the picture below, you can see Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the front center. (This annotation contains an image)
A burning cross is the mark of the Ku Klux Klan, a white supremacist organization that terrorizes black communities and fights against civil rights for all. (This annotation contains an image)
This song was sung often during the Civil Rights movement. It is a song about unity and strength. Watch this video for a minute or two to hear the song. (This annotation contains a video)
List three details from this paragraph that show Mama takes pride in her home.
What do you think Mrs. Worth means? Why would a "stare" get Addie into trouble?
Using context clues, what does the expression "three bricks shy of a load" mean?
A bayou is like a swamp. It has low lying water that moves (if at all) very slowly. (This annotation contains an image)
You are probably predicting that this event will lead to serious problems and possibly violence toward Addie Ann and her brother.
You may have realized by now that both Addie Ann and Elias take their educations seriously.
What does this expression mean that Mama uses about Elias?
Who do you think just came through the side door into the kitchen? Explain what you think is going on in this first paragraph.
Why is the sheriff pushing Elias's sheet against the dog's nose?
It's hard to imagine an officer of the law being so cruel.
What do you think Uncle Bump means, "Your brother's smart"? Do you think Elias meant for them to find the shoe?
Although this novel is fiction, the story of Emmett Till is tragically true. He was a 14 year old boy who lived in Mississippi, and supposedly he flirted with a white woman who worked at a store. Several nights later he was kidnapped, beaten, and then shot. His body was found in a river with a cotton gin fan weighing it down. The two men who kidnapped and killed him were acquitted (found not guilty) in court. Several months after the trial, the two men admitted their guilt to a journalist, knowing-- because of Double Jeopardy--that they could never be tried for the crime again. This is a picture of Emmett Till right around the time that he died. (This annotation contains an image)
When a novel is told in first person, we only know the thoughts of the narrator, who is also usually the main character. So now we don't know what Mama or Uncle Bump is thinking, and we don't know where Elias is, or how he is feeling. Watch this video on the different types of point of view. (This annotation contains a video)
This is an idiomatic expression that means excellent, stylish, and impressive.
The genre of this novel is historical fiction. As readers, we can learn a great deal about a period in history or a historical event while reading a fictional story. In most historical fiction novels, the historical background is factual and true, even though the "main" plot of the novel is not. In this novel, you will learn about the plight of African Americans in Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement. Watch this video for a more in depth discussion of the elements of historical fiction. (This annotation contains a video)
Now we understand the meaning of the title of this novel. Consider how this title and this statement might relate to the novel's theme.
Use the Define feature on the word grit. Which of the following sentences uses the same definition of grit as the writer does in the highlighted sentence?
Of all the town folk at the Garden Club meeting, who among them is the most practical?
Sometimes when you read a novel with a first person narrator, you can't believe everything he/she says. In this case our narrator is only eleven years old, and there are many things in life that she doesn't understand.
You can infer that no longer having the keys to Mr. Adams' place makes Uncle Bump feel which of the following?
Can you imagine having to work all day in the summer in a garden when you are only six or seven years old?
What are Mrs. Tate and the other ladies supposed to be doing?
What does this action show about Mrs. Tate? Would Mrs. Worth do the same?
Explain your reaction to the voter registration test.
Below is a picture of Dorothea Towles, an African American model who worked for Christian Dior and is here on the cover of Ebony magazine. (This annotation contains an image)
Here's another picture of a bayou with cypress trees. (This annotation contains an image)
Which is the best explanation below for why the writer made the sentences here short and spaced apart (each in their own paragraph)?
What is it that makes Addie grab Ralphie from his father?
What should have happened once Ralphie was okay?
The Help, a popular adult novel published in 2009, tells the story of several African American maids in Mississippi and how much they love the white children they care for. But those very same children grow up and become prejudice themselves and hire African American maids to raise their own children. The white women usually treat their maids badly, even though they loved the maids who raised them. Watch this clip from the movie The Help based on this critically acclaimed novel. (This annotation contains a video)
What happened to Addie Ann's father?
Explain why Addie Ann doesn't go to the school that is closer to her.
You may think missing school would be awesome, but what if you had to miss school because you had to work in the fields? Then what if you had to repeat a year in school because of it?
This sentence gives you a visual image of how the old man is hunched over with a bad back. What type of figurative language is used to describe this?
What is Addie Ann remembering?
The "bubonic plague," or Black Death as it was also called, was a deadly virus that struck Europe during the Dark Ages and wiped out nearly one- third of the population. It was extremely contagious. Below is a picture that suggests how many were sick and that many people died each day when this plague occurred. (This annotation contains an image)
The message that Mrs. Jacks whispers to Addie Ann shows what quality about her?
This is historically accurate. There was no janitorial staff to clean the African American schools. Students and teachers had to do it themselves.
This was a common Jim Crow Law. Many restaurants only served whites, and those that served African Americans had a special section in the back as the only place they could sit and be served. (This annotation contains an image)
This metaphor is carried through in several sentences. It is what we call an extended metaphor. A metaphor suggests that one thing is another to show that the qualities of one are similar to the qualities of the other. What is being compared to Elias's spirit?
When a narrator tells the reader about something that happened in the past, it is called flashback. Watch this brief video on flashback. (This annotation contains a video)
This event really happened. An African American church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama, and four young girls were killed. Watch this video tribute of those four girls. (This annotation contains a video)
Why do you think Mama is upset that Addie Ann told her about Mrs. Tate's secret?
The Latin root vis does mean "to see." Which of the following words has vis as its root?
Catfish are freshwater fish and can grow to one hundred pounds or more. (This annotation contains an image)
It seems that with her brother missing, her father dead, her family poor, and the terrible things that are happening in the world, that Addie wouldn't even think about other problems. But in spite of all the hardships in her life, she is still a twelve year old girl and is having "boy trouble."
Explain in your own words what you think Uncle Bump means.
Use the Define feature on the word "harrumphing." Which of the following words is an antonym (opposite in meaning) of that word?
Addie Ann is getting ready to tell us something that happened earlier. What is this literary device called?
One true sign of a talented writer is the creative way he/she uses figurative language. Here, the writer shows how badly Addie wants to speak up by making it seem that the words themselves are fighting and struggling to get out. What type of figurative language is this?
Explain what this will probably mean for Addie and the other African American members of the community.
This is an idiomatic expression that's meant to show shock or surprise. Another example of an idiom is 'in the nick of time.' With that in mind, what do you think is the definition of an idiom?
Eartha Kitt was a famous African American actress and singer who was also known for being a "peace activist." This is probably what Mrs. Montgomery means when she compares Mama to Ms. Kitt. (Eartha Kitt is the voice of Yzma in the movies The Emperor's New Groove, I and II). (This annotation contains an image)
Do you think Mrs. Jacks would be okay with her students attending the picking and missing school? (Keep in mind she was at the church meeting.) There is no right or wrong answer, but you must explain why you do or do not think she would be okay with it.
Frederick Douglass was born into slavery, but escaped North when he was a young man. He spent the rest of his life in a fight for the freedom of his people. He became a famous writer and speaker in the abolitionist movement. (This annotation contains an image)
Nonviolent resistance means fighting for a cause without using violence. It involves peaceful marches, protests, boycotts, and demonstrations. Mahatma Gandhi used nonviolent resistance to fight for India's freedom from the British. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. also called for this approach as he led the fight for civil rights.
Remember, Addie Ann thinks of her brother's spirit like a
This should make most readers feel good. It serves these people right!
Even though Addie Ann and Delilah are friends, they are in conflict over what?
Are you wondering what is going on here?
Use context clues to figure out who Brayburn must be.
Which emotion may be the most likely cause of the "glint" in Uncle Bump'e eye?
The reverend means that Uncle Bump won't go because of his
Do you understand what Mama is doing? She knows if she and Addie leave, that Bump will stay and be killed or taken away. But if she stays, then Bump will leave to protect them.
Use the define feature on the word "hoodoo." Which meaning is used here?
Who or what is the Reverend's Brigade?
A field of milkweed looks like this. (This annotation contains an image)
Why do you think Mama or Elias never told Addie Ann that her father was murdered?
Jesse Owens is a famous African American track star and Olympic medal winner. (This annotation contains an image)
This famous march was led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in August, 1963. This is the day where Dr. King gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. (This annotation contains an image)
Here is another picture of the KKK, or Ku Klux Klan. You can see why their appearance is terrifying. (This annotation contains an image)
Why do you think Addie Ann repeats "My Story" three times?
Now we know where Addie Ann and Elias get the "spirit" and courage to stand up and fight. They get it from their father.
"Go down, Moses" is a popular African American gospel song. It tells about the Biblical struggle of Moses to free his people from the Egyptians. In the song, the "Pharoah" represents the master, and the "people of Israel" represents slaves. You should listen for a minute or so to this adaptation of the spiritual sung by Louis Armstrong. (This annotation contains a video)
This is an example of what type of figurative language?
This is an example of what?
Who is at the door at Elmira's?
This is what Elias is worried about. Uncle Bump may never make it to trial. Angry citizens, perhaps members of the KKK, may get to him first. This is what happened to Addie's father. When justice is illegally taken by angry citizens or mobs, it is called "vigilante justice." The KKK was a prominent vigilante group during this time and lynching was the method they often used. Sometimes law enforcement turns a blind eye to vigilante groups. Elias is afraid that the sheriff may secretly give the KKK access to Uncle Bump.
Whose watch is this?
Remember this? You probably wondered who that man was in the woods and what he was doing. You still may not know the answers, but you should realize that it must be important.
What makes this dialogue seem as though Mr. Montgomery is struggling to be positive about the trial and is just being strong for the women?
Do you have a prediction of who may be in the photograph? Whenever police try to solve a crime, they must think of who has motive. Motive means who would gain or benefit from the crime. Think about who may benefit from the garden being ruined.
The dress perhaps has become a symbol to the girls for courage. Remember, Delilah had it on the day of the garden picking.
In your own words explain why this is not a fair trial.
List five persuasive words from this paragraph that Mr. Hickock uses to sway(influence) the jury.
When a lawyer objects, the judge can either "sustain"--which means he agrees that whatever the opposite side said shouldn't have been said. Or the judge can "overrule"-- which means he doesn't think there is anything wrong with what the opposite side said. Pay attention to when the judge overrules and when he sustains and see if you think the judge favors one side over the other.
This should make you angry. The African American children, like Addie, are the ones who are always hungry, not the white children.
What can you infer Mrs. Worth means here?
What do you think Miss Gold is trying to prove with the length of the vine?
What are at least two things the judge does during trial to show he is biased and really on the white side?
Explain in your own words the point Mama is trying to make with Addie Ann.
We know Miss Springer has a fair head on her shoulders. We also know that Mrs. Tate is not exactly happy being married to her husband. Knowing what we do about both of these characters should really make us think and form some predictions.
The plot in this novel is moving fast now, and events are becoming more suspenseful. We are definitely high into the rising action and nearing the climax. Watch this video for a review of the parts of plot. (This annotation contains a video)
Think to yourself for a minute. Would Mr. Mudge, who owns the grocery store, benefit from the garden being ruined?
What two types of figurative language does the writer use here?
The Define feature doesn't bring up a definition on this word, but it means to speak out against something that is held very sacred.
The word "veracity" contains the root ver which means truth. Which of the following words does not contain the root ver and does not relate to truth?
This is another of Addie Ann's Southern expressions that she uses throughout the novel. Which of the following expressions best replaces the one she uses here?
It actually isn't that surprising, given her character, that Mrs. Tate is helping out Uncle Bump. Explain things she's done in the past that show her kindness toward Addie Ann and Mama.
In this scene, what gives Mr. Mudge's guilt away?
Where do you think Flapjack is right now?
Notice how the writer has created suspense here. First, Addie Ann points out the wrong tree, and we think all is lost. Then something else happens!
This is an example of hyperbole. Hyperbole is used when a writer wants to make a strong point, so he/she uses extreme exaggeration. Watch this video for a more thorough look at hyperbole. (This annotation contains a video)
Now we know why Mr. Mudge was so willing to donate time and money to the garden. He did this to get more control so he could easily destroy it with no one suspecting.
This is the highest point of suspense in this story. What part of the plot do you think this is?
This is an indication that the climax of the novel (the highest point of suspense) has just passed. Events are winding down, and the narrator tells us that she believes things will start to change.
To "sell someone down the river" is an idiom. Using context, what does this expression mean?
Addie Ann's "inside growth spurt" may have something to do with one of the themes in this novel. When the protagonist grows emotionally or learns something important in life, we as readers know it must be part of the theme of the novel. Addie Ann has gone from a girl who really didn't know or care about the Civil Rights Movement, to a girl who has learned to stand up for what she knows is right.
This sentence exaggerates how much everyone hugs once they get back to the Montgomerys' house. What type of figurative language is this?
What Addie Ann says here helps develop the __________ of this story.
The Freedom Vote actually did occur in Mississippi. Booths were set up in African American churches and businesses where people could come to vote without being intimidated or forced to take a quiz. This mock (pretend) election was organized to prove just how many African Americans wanted to vote if they were not terrorized by doing so.
Even though the two girls competed for the attention of Cool Breeze, they are true friends.
The love of family is also an important theme in this novel.
Elias mentioned this before, but we didn't understand what he was talking about. Now we know where Elias had been hiding all along.
Do you remember this part: When Addie Ann wishes she knew when the right time to put her hand on her mama to calm her like Bessie seemed to know? This is another place in the story that shows Addie Ann has grown up.
Which of the following best explains the "distant look" in Elias's eyes?
Most African American schools during this time either went without books and furniture or used what the white schools had thrown away and discarded. This and many other issues proved that "Separate" was NOT "Equal."
Do you think this last scene in Mr. Adams' house may symbolize (stand for or represent) something? Think of the following details and then explain what you think they may symbolize: Addie Ann and other African Americans enter through the front door; there are no signs for white seats or colored seats; the white reverend and Reverend Walker stand side by side.
Has Mrs. Worth changed any in this novel? We call characters who change, like Addie Ann, dynamic characters. Characters who stay the same are called static characters.