Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

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Folksy and fresh, endearing and affecting, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is the now-classic novel of two women in the 1980s; of gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode telling her life story to Evelyn, who is in the sad slump of middle age. The tale she tells is also of two women--of the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth--who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, a Southern kind of Cafe Wobegon offering good barbecue and good coffee and all kinds of love and laughter, even an occasional murder. And as the past unfolds, the present--for Evelyn and for us--will never be quite the same again... "Airplanes and television have removed the Threadgoodes from the Southern scene. Happily for us, Fannie Flagg has preserved a whole community of them in a richly comic, poignant narrative that records the exuberance of their lives, the sadness of their departure. Idgie Threadgoode is a true original: Huckleberry Finn would have tried to marry her!" --Harper Lee, Author ofTo Kill a Mockingbird "A real novel and a good one... [from] the busy brain of a born storyteller." --The New York Times "It's very good, in fact, just wonderful." --Los Angeles Times "Funny and macabre." --The Washington Post "Courageous and wise." --Houston Chronicle
Curriculet Details
68 Questions
70 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This free digital curriculum for 11th grade students contains annotations that invite students to think critically about race relations, listen to music referenced in the novel, and explore the cultural and historical background of the book. Interactive videos help students appreciate the author's use of point of view as well as motifs and the use of irony. The Common Core aligned questions and answers address character development, the use of regional vocabulary, and the role of foreshadowing in the novel. Our free online unit will increase student engagement with rich media annotations while supporting reading comprehension with questions and quizzes that are imbedded directly into the book. Teachers, please be aware that this novel contains explicit sexual language and adult themes. Please read this novel prior to allowing students access to it.

The curriculet is being added to your library

The Weems Weekly: June 12, 1929

Did you notice the date on the top of this page? It helps you understand the use of the word "colored" to describe African-American people. 

Rose Terrace Nursing Home: December 15, 1985

You have already learned plenty about Mrs. Cleo Threadgoode. What can you learn from her long narrative? 

The Weems Weekly: October 8, 1929

Watch the following video about point of view and cultural perspective. Think about the information presented in it as you continue to read this story, which is told through different voices.  (This annotation contains a video)

Rose Terrace Nursing Home: December 15, 1985

Why might the author include the highlighted anecdote about Idgie? 

The Weems Weekly: October 15, 1929

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? 

Davenport, Iowa: October 15, 1929

What is being described in the second paragraph on this page? 
Below is a photograph of a hobo camp from this era. Today we would refer to these people as homeless.  (This annotation contains an image)

The Weems Weekly: October 22, 1929

Which word describes the tone set by the author in these weekly bulletins? 

Rose Terrace Nursing Home: December 22, 1985

This paragraph mentions the two main religions (both Christian) practiced by the white population in the South at the time. While baptism is practiced in both, the age of those baptized and other practices around the rite do differ.  

The Weems Weekly: July 12, 1930

What does Mrs. Weems' tone suggest about her point of view? 

Whistle Stop Cafe: November 18, 1931

How does the author use humor to teach about the culture represented in this book? Do you think it is effective? 

Rose Terrace Nursing Home: January 29, 1986

Which of the following themes underlies much of what you have read so far? 
After watching the video below, describe how the author uses pacing to tell the stories in this book.  (This annotation contains a video)

212 Rhodes Circle: January 5, 1986

Which of the following does not play a role in this narrative so far? 
What do we learn about gender roles in this chapter about Evelyn? How does she compare and contrast to Idgie? 

The Weems Weekly: November 2, 1932

What can we infer from Idgie's invitation to listen to the radio show? 
"Amos 'n' Andy" was a radio program depicting life in the African-American community in Harlem, New York, during the 1930s. There was lots of controversy surrounding the show, with listeners and critics debating whether or not it broke new ground or reinforced racial stereotypes. You can access some of the old recordings by following the link below, and decide for yourself.  (This annotation contains a link)

Rose Terrace Nursing Home: January 12, 1986

Below is one of the possible paintings referred to here. It is one of a series created by C.M. Coolidge for cigar advertisements. What do you think of Idgie's decorating choice?  (This annotation contains an image)

The Whistle Stop Cafe: March 22, 1933

Which of the following best explains why the author has Sipsey speak this way? 
Fannie Flagg uses humor in different ways throughout this book. What seem to be her intentions here, and do you think the humor is effective? 

212 Rhodes Circle: January 19, 1986

The title of this chapter, "212 Rhodes Circle," as well as the opening paragraph, prepare us to learn more about 
Many Americans feel unprepared for death, whether it is their own or that of a loved one. If you are facing the loss of a loved one, a guidance counselor, a hospice worker, or even a librarian should be able to point you to some resources. 
This chapter makes an impact through its  

Rose Terrace Nursing Home: January 19, 1986

How would you describe the relationship between Mrs. Threadgoode and Evelyn? How do you envision it developing? 
What do we learn about Evelyn in this chapter? 

Rose Terrace Nursing Home: January 26, 1986

Below is a still photograph from the film version of this novel. What can you see about the friendship between Evelyn and Mrs. Threadgoode?  (This annotation contains an image)

Troutville, Alabama: June 2, 1917

Which of the following works has language similar to the highlighted lines? 

The Weems Weekly: July 1, 1935

This is the first mention of Ruth and Idgie having a child. Why do you think the author mentions it in this fashion (in "The Weems Weekly," in a matter-of-fact way)? 

Rose Terrace Nursing Home: February 2, 1986

What do you learn from the highlighted text? 

Whistle Stop, Alabama: July 18, 1924

Given Mrs. Threadgoode's story in the previous chapter, what can you anticipate in this chapter? 
This dialogue about killing and dying may prove to be 

Whistle Stop, Alabama: August 29, 1924

"Bee charmer" is an expression which seems to have been invented by this author, and has since spread into our culture to describe someone who can communicate with bees and take the honey without getting stung. How does this description fit with what we already know about Idgie?  
Why does Ruth leave? 

Rose Terrace Nursing Home: February 9, 1986

Why is Evelyn so interested in the stories that Mrs.Threadgoode tells her? 

The Wagon Wheel River and Fishing Club: August 30, 1924

What draws Idgie to the Wagon Wheel River and Fishing Club? 
What can you infer from the highlighted text?  

Rose Terrace Nursing Home: February 16, 1986

Most of this novel's story is told through 

The Whistle Stop Cafe: June 16, 1936

Watch the following video for a refresher on the different types of irony, and be prepared to answer a question or two about irony later on.  (This annotation contains a video)
The comments made by the white boys about Big George exemplify 

Rose Terrace Nursing Home: February 23, 1986

Fannie Flagg uses humor frequently in this novel. As you continue to read, try to appreciate the different ways in which the author uses humor, and what effect it has on the reader. 

Whistle Stop, Alabama: Christmas Day, 1937

Which kind of narration is used throughout most of this story? 
Why does Idgie take Stump to see this dog? What kind of impact do you anticipate this having on Stump? 

Birmingham, Alabama: December 30, 1934

The description of the station helps us appreciate the author's emphasis on __________ in this chapter. 

Slagtown News Flotsam & Jetsam: May 6, 1937

Renowned musician Cab Calloway is pictured below. Can you imagine how much he and other talented African-American men inspired Artis' generation?  (This annotation contains an image)

Rose Terrace Nursing Home: March 2, 1986

Which folkloric hero is Railroad Bill most similar to? 

The Weems Weekly: December 1, 1938

Below is a photograph of rural life in Alabama, taken during the 1930s by Walker Evans. Does the photograph affect your opinion of Railroad Bill's actions?  (This annotation contains an image)

The Whistle Stop Cafe: December 1, 1938

The author uses _________ in the highlighted text to help us imagine Stump's frame of mind. 
What might be the author's purpose in including the highlighted description of the bright red cardinal? 

Rose Terrace Nursing Home: March 9, 1986

Quiz 1 - Fried Green Tomatoes 
Which of the following adages best captures the essence of this final chapter paragraph? 

West Madison Street: December 3, 1938

The American Legion focuses on service to veterans. It was founded in 1919. (This annotation contains an image)

The Weems Weekly: December 8, 1938

Which of the following is a recurrent theme in the chapters called "The Weems Weekly?" 

Rose Terrace Nursing Home: March 15, 1986

What do you think of Mrs. Threadgoode's opinion here? Is there a "certain someone" for everyone? 
What can we infer from this chapter? 

Troutville, Alabama: January 8, 1938

The photo below is probably similar to the picture that Naughty Bird is thinking about. Try to remember that back in 1938, in a small town, this might very well be the only image that children would have seen of an elephant. Can you imagine Naught Bird's fascination?  (This annotation contains an image)
What can you surmise about Idgie's urge to go out? 

Valdosta, Georgia: September 15, 1924

The photograph below give you an idea of what a grocery store looked like at the time. How does it compare to where your family buys its food? (This annotation contains an image)
Idgie's behavior is caused by 

Rose Terrace Nursing Home: March 30, 1986

How does Big Momma compare to Mrs. Threadgoode? Why do you think the author continues to mention Big Momma in the story? 
Which character plays a large role in setting the mood of the nursing home chapters? 

Whistle Stop, Alabama: March 25, 1940

"The Shadow" was a very popular radio show, based on a series of books published in the 1930s. Follow the link below to hear a recording of the opening of an episode. (This annotation contains a video)
Whose point of view is highlighted in this chapter? 
Can you explain why the ending of this story about the kids and the late Mr. Pinto is ironic? 

Valdosta, Georgia: September 30, 1924

What can we infer from the highlighted exchange about Frank Bennett? 

Rose Terrace Nursing Home: April 6, 1986

Watch the following video and think about the different ways author Fannie Flagg uses tension to tell the stories of the people in and around Whistle Stop.  (This annotation contains a video)

Whistle Stop, Alabama: October 17, 1940

This vignette is about some minor characters in the story. It builds on what ongoing motif? 

The Weems Weekly: October 18, 1940

How does the author use the element of tone in the editions of The Weems Weekly to communicate Dot Weems' point of view? 

Valdosta, Georgia: August 4, 1928

Idgie's behavior 

Rose Terrace Nursing Home: April 27, 1986

The "Book of Ruth" is a work originally from the Jewish Bible. The story is known for its loving and loyal character, Ruth, who is dedicated to her mother-in-law, Naomi. Why do you think Ruth sends this page to Idgie? 

Valdosta, Georgia: September 18, 1928

Ruth's dilemma is a reflection of 
Try to anticipate what will happen when Idgie comes for Ruth, and then read the next chapter to find out if your prediction is correct.  

Whistle Stop, Alabama: September 21, 1928

What of the following is probably not a reason for Idgie to lie about Frank this way? 

The Whistle Stop Cafe: November 22, 1930

Originally founded in the mid-1800s to terrorize Blacks during Reconstruction, the KKK still functions today and because of its white supremacist beliefs and practices, it is characterized as a hate group by some other national organizations. Below is a photograph of Klansmen, dressed in their typical garb, with their trademark, a burning cross.  (This annotation contains an image)
How do we learn earlier in this chapter that Frank is with the Klansman? 

Whistle Stop, Alabama: December 18, 1930

Try to appreciate how the author slows down the narrative as a way of building tension and piquing our interest. 
What does the highlighted text mean? 

The Whistle Stop Cafe: December 21, 1930

Do you imagine Idgie is feeling worried at this moment? Why or why not? 

The Weems Weekly: March 19, 1931

What is the effect of the author inserting this news here at this time? 

Rose Terrace Nursing Home: May 11, 1986

Founded in 1963, Mary Kay is a company that relies on women selling cosmetics to their friends. Top sellers are rewarded with a pink Cadillac (pictured below), which then serves as mobile advertising units for the company.  (This annotation contains an image)

The Whistle Stop Cafe: November 18, 1940

Which of the following reasons explain why Ruth might be concerned about Idgie spending time with Eva Bates? 

Slagtown News Flotsam & Jetsam: November 19, 1940

Listen to a recording of Duke Ellington's "Creole Love Call." Do you think it is "odd but effective"? (This annotation contains a video)

10th Avenue: November 20, 1940

Which word best captures Artis' feelings about Birmingham? 

Pigley-Wigley Supermarket: May 19, 1986

Americans spend billions of dollars every year trying to lose weight. Women in particular are targets of the diet industry's advertising campaigns, which promise success to those who succumb. Do you think Evelyn's life will change if she loses weight? 
This chapter begins with Evelyn feeling happy and positive about herself and her life. The incident with this cruel boy is an example of 

212 Rhodes Circle: August 8, 1986

Evelyn's coming of age as a feminist is described as being "twenty years later than most women." Author Fannie Flagg is referring to the "Second-wave" feminist movement, launched by the publication of Betty Friedan's now-classic book, "The Feminine Mystique." 
What seems to be the main purpose of this chapter? 

Whistle Stop, Alabama: January 12, 1944

Pictured below, Tuskegee Institute was founded in 1881 by Booker T. Washington, to provide education for Black people following the Civil War. Tuskegee University is currently a private, historically black college with more than 3,000 students enrolled.  (This annotation contains an image)

The Weems Weekly: February 24, 1944

What is the purpose of this vignette from The Weems Weekly? 

Rose Terrace Nursing Home: July 28, 1986

It is not uncommon for people to believe that senior citizens are incapable of love and romance. This belief is wrong, and reflects a prejudice against the elderly. 

Rose Terrace Nursing Home: August 15, 1986

The highlighted sentences includes ________ to help us learn something about Geneene. 

Wagon Wheel Fishing Lodge and River Club: June 3, 1946

You rarely see Ruth's point of view in this novel. What do you imagine she would say about Idgie taking off without warning? 
It is most likely that the author of the note is 

Whistle Stop Cafe: October 28, 1947

Today, individuals are protected against these kinds of remarks through sexual harassment laws. If you or someone you know is spoken to in a sexual way that makes you uncomfortable, check out the links provided on the following page and/or speak with a trusted adult.  (This annotation contains a link)
Why motivates Idgie to talk with Stump about relationships? 
Quiz Two - Fried Green Tomatoes 
Why does Idgie bring Stump across the river? Who opens the door? What do you think of this? 

The Weems Weekly: October 30, 1947

Why might the author end this edition of the Weekly like this? 

Slagtown, Alabama: October 17, 1949

How does the author use pacing to build tension in this chapter? What effect does it have on you? 
This conclusion to the story of Artis and the dog catcher is another example of 

Birmingham, Alabama: September 1, 1986

Lucille Ball, pictured below, was a multi-talented, comedic television star whose show, I Love Lucy, continues to win the hearts of viewers even though the final episode first aired in 1957.  (This annotation contains an image)

Kilbey Prison: July 11, 1948

The Scottsboro boys, pictured below, were a group of nine adolescent African-Americans falsely accused of raping two white women in 1931. From start to finish, the case was fraught with miscarriages of justice, fueled by racism. There have been many works of literature and music inspired by this chapter of American history.  (This annotation contains an image)

Rose Terrace Nursing Home: September 7, 1986

Choose the sentence that best expresses Onzell's highlighted sentence in standard English. 

Whistle Stop, Alabama: February 7, 1947

Can you anticipate what decision Onzell makes here? After you find out, share your opinion of the decision with another reader. 

Pigley-Wigley Supermarket: September 13, 1986

Watch the film clip and then answer the following question.  (This annotation contains a video)
How does this chapter compare to the film clip you just watched? 

Birmingham, Alabama: May 24, 1949

Within the Black community, lighter skin has often been more valued among community members, reflecting internalized racism. 
The author uses _________ to depict racial discrimination in this passage. 

Rose Terrace Nursing Home: September 14, 1986

Do you think Mrs. Threadgoode really believes this, or is this an example of the author's sense of humor? 
Which of the following is unlikely to be true given the conversation between Mrs. Threadgoode and Evelyn? 

The Martin Luther King Memorial Baptist Church: September 21, 1986

Historically, churches have been at the heart of Black communities in the United States. To its members they offer faith, fellowship, and a locale for community organizing. 
What surprises Evelyn the most about the changes described in this chapter? 
Have you ever had an experience like the highlighted event? 

Southern Railroad News: June 1, 1950

What is the purpose of this vignette from the "Southern Railroad News"? 

Outside of Roanoke, Virginia: December 23, 1958

Read the following poem, and then answer the question that appears on the following page.  (This annotation contains a link)
In which of the following ways is the poem similar to this chapter? 

Rose Terrace Nursing Home: September 22, 1986

Some of the humor in this story is dry and could be difficult to miss. Can you explain why the highlighted text, while being bittersweet, is also somewhat humorous? 

The Whistle Stop Cafe: February 3, 1939

What can you infer from this first page of the chapter? 

1520 Willina Lane: November 27, 1986

As you can see on the map below, Alabama and Tennessee share a small border. Nonetheless, they share a lot of rivalries, including college football.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why won't anyone betray Railroad Bill? 

Rose Terrace Nursing Home: September 28, 1986

To further appreciate how the author uses food as a motif throughout this book, watch the following video. Can you identify another motif in this book?  (This annotation contains a video)
What can we infer from everyone's silence about the discovery of Frank Bennett's truck? 

County Courthouse: July 24, 1955

Watch the following clip from the Marx Brothers' film, Duck Soup, and be prepared to answer a question in a few pages.  (This annotation contains a video)
How is this courtroom scene similar to the Marx Brothers clip that you just watched? 
Can you explain the irony behind the preacher saving Idgie? 

Rose Terrace Nursing Home: October 9, 1986

Which of the following is the most likely, given the narrative style of this book? 

The Jimmy Hatcher Downtown Rescue Mission: January 23, 1969

Why do you think you are learning of Smokey's secret love for Ruth at this point in the story? Jot down a few possibilities, and then check back after you read a few more chapters. 

The Weems Weekly: December 9, 1956

What seems to be the purpose of this edition of "The Weems Weekly"? 

Rose Terrace Nursing Home: October 12, 1986

The friendship between Mrs. Threadgoode and Evelyn forms the core of this novel. What do you imagine each is feeling as they say goodbye? 

United Airlines, Flight 763: October 14, 1986

Which of the following is not implied by the highlighted paragraph? 

Whistle Stop, Alabama: November 7, 1967

As you read the final chapters of this novel, think about how the author varies the pacing, the point of view, and tension to wrap up the story. 

Whistle Stop Cemetery: December 13, 1930

A recurring motif in this book, exemplified in this chapter, is  

The Weems Weekly: November 10, 1967

Lurleen Wallace and her husband, George Wallace, each served as governor of Alabama, running and winning on a platform opposed to desegregation. Lurleen ran because George was not allowed to run for another term, but he made all of the decisions. What do you think of this? 

Hotel de Luxe Rooms for Gentlemen: July 2, 1979

Which of the following is true about Artis? 

The Forever Slim Lodge: December 5, 1986

Earlier in the book it discussed the diet industry. Today, women spend thousands of dollars, and plenty of time, at "weight-loss resorts," in search of the perfect body. What can you conclude about gender discrimination from this? 
Given the relationship between Evelyn and Mrs. Threadgoode, which of the following emotions is Evelyn unlikely to be feeling? 

Whistle Stop, Alabama: April 8, 1986

Below is a photograph of Ruth and Idgie, from the film made of this book. Is this how you've been picturing them?  (This annotation contains an image)
Which is the most plausible reason for Evelyn's surprise at the size of Troutville? 

The Weems Weekly: June 25, 1969

As we approach the end of the novel, think about the role played by the various editions of "The Weems Weekly." How would you characterize the role this motif has played in the narrative? 

Whistle Stop Cemetery: April 19, 1988

Which word best describes the tone of the highlighted paragraph? 

Highway 90: May 22, 1988

The old woman is most likely 
Quiz Three - Fried Green Tomatoes