Discussion Questions

Hi everyone,

I hope everyone had a good weekend. I’m starting to come up with some discussion questions and here is where I’m at. If we all like them, I will post them tomorrow. Feel free to make changes or to add follow up questions if you like where I’m headed with the questions.

Pre-reading questions:

What prior knowledge do you have about the earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12th, 2010?

Can you recall where you were when you heard about the tragedy?

Have you ever dealt with tragedy? Have you ever lost a loved one due to a tragedy? This can be any earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, tornados, Etc.


Reader response questions:

Have you ever felt influenced by a major political authority as Shorty is influenced by Toussaint? This can be a president, senator, mayor.

Compare and contrast Short and Toussaint.

Think about the title of the book, “In Darkness”. What does this title mean? How about both Toussaint and Short in darkness?

Give a brief explanation of Shorty’s relationship with his sister. Does this sibling relationship compare to a relationship you might have with a family member?

Interpretive Community questions:

On page 97, Toussaint reflects on the situation he is in. ‘Both wore suspicious expressions on their faces – Toussaint thought they had that look all white men get when they find themselves in a confined space with blacks they’ve never met before” — What does Toussaint mean by this? Why does this passage stress the racial segregation that takes place on the island? Have you ever felt uncomfortable in a situation where the color of your skin could get you in trouble?

On page 146, Toussaint comes to a realization about the similarities about the sea and human beings. “The sea, he realized, was not foreign at all. It behaved like humans. It took things – the driftwood, the drowned – and loved them, but always, like a person who dies and leaves behind their possessions, it ultimately abandoned them, casting them up onto short, and moving on” — From these thoughts that Toussaint has, what can we tell about his life in general? Does he have reason to doubt people and only see their bad side? Why?

Critical Synthesis questions:

Recall your knowledge on the Marxist theory. How is there power and justice struggles throughout the novel. Use examples form both Toussaint’s and Shorty’s stories.

Using your knowledge from the post-colonial theory, how do Shorty and Toussaint deal with oppression? Compare and contrast the ways they deal with this oppression.


About mekellysite

Senior at WIU English Education Major
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