Although the book seems to deal mostly with men, Black women are quiet but still strong characters in the novel. Discuss their role.

The book deals with many serious issues of miscarried justice. What do you think of the judge's final verdict? Why does the author choose to close the book with a comical courtroom scene after dealing with such serious issues?

Gaines frequently reports on how Black people have different skin tones. Why does Gaines think that this fact is important? Using at least three Black characters as examples, discuss their skin color in relation to personality and the community.

On the way to Mathu's house, why do the old men linger in the cemetery? What does the graveyard represent?

Sheriff Mapes sits down and seems to give up during the shootout even though he is barely hurt. Why does he do this?

Discuss the character of Jack Marshall. Why does he spend his days in a drunken stupor? How do his daily actions relate to his family's history?