Happy new year! I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays with their family and friends. I hope you got some much-needed rest and motivation to tackle old and new goals! One of my old, ongoing goals is to read more. More specifically, read more books about black culture and by black authors. So, January’s book will be Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile. I’ve heard great things about the show so I decided to read the book first (and I don’t have cable 🙃😂). Let’s plan to discuss the book on Sunday, January 29th!
–> Please get a copy and join me! I purchased my copy from Barnes and Noble. I also retrieved discussion questions from the Penguin Books publishing company. If you have additional questions or topics you would like to discuss, drop them in the comment section!
–> I’m still looking for a co-moderator as well to help me pick books and guide the discussion!
What is the future for Charley and Remy?
- The book ended with Charley and Remy together spending the day with the children. I think their future is a sign a hope and change that’s forthcoming in American Society in regards to interracial dating.
Race plays a major role in Queen Sugar, affecting the characters in both overt and subtle ways. How does the challenge of being African American in Southern Louisiana vary from character to character? Consider the separate experiences of Denton, Ralph Angel, Charley, and Micah.
- Denton: At the auction, Denton’s whole demeanor changed during the conversation with Baron and Landry. He was well-respected amongst the farmers, but he still wasn’t equal to the white men, especially those with money and owned mills. Referencing his past as an employee and the statement of “. . .I’d ask you to come back to us” gives off the “I own you, you’re my property” type of vibe.
- Ralph Angel: Ralph Angel is a very interesting character. There were moments that I felt sympathetic, but in the end, I couldn’t stand him. His encounters with the police are the only moments that I would say race played a role in how he carried himself. Ralph Angel’s arrogance and sense of entitlement ultimately caused his demise.
- Charley: Charley experienced racism and sexism. The white mill owners and farmers especially didn’t think she could be successful in the business. Blatantly stating that they were imagining her naked clearly showed how little respect they had for her.
- Micah: My heart bled for Micah. Her character is a prime example of why representation matters. I was really happy that she was a part of the Sugar Queen court.
What is the reason behind Miss Honey’s constant support for and forgiveness of Ralph Angel?
- Guilt. Miss Honey constantly ignores Ralph Angel’s behavior because she believes that if she had raised him he would’ve turned out to be a more productive member of society. Miss Honey characters demonstrates that you can’t love someone out of guilt. It only hurts the person more.
Why is Charley so reluctant to ask her mother Lorna for help?
- Lorna is not supportive. Charley needed the farm to be successful to prove her mother wrong.
Both Ralph Angel and Charley have lost a spouse. How does each person face that loss and loneliness? In what ways are their approaches similar, and how are they different?
- They both look to their children as the reason to keep going during their darkest moments. They both try to distract themselves either with work or drugs (Ralph Angel). And both think life would be a little easier if their spouses were around. The only difference I see is that Ralph Angel let the death of his wife destroy the little good in him that he had left because her death was his fault.
What is the significance of The Cane Farmer to Charley? Why did her father give it to her?
- The Cane Farmer holds a lot of sentimental value. 1) It belonged to her father 2) It symbolizes the strength and courage her father had in his childhood. I also think he hopes Charley will use it as a constant reminder of her own strength.
Why was it so important to Charley’s father to own those particular acres of sugar cane?
- In his childhood he worked on those acres of sugar cane. He also was assaulted and treated less than because of his race. Buying those acres demonstrated that he was no longer “owned” by the white man. That he was an equal because he was able to purchase those acres and have wealth to pass down in his family.
Charley speaks of the satisfaction of farming-the hard work, the beauty of the land, the sense of accomplishment. Is there anything in your life that provides you with a similar sense of satisfaction?
I jokingly refer to myself as a professional student, but I really am proud of myself. I love school and even when I feel like I’m drowning, I feel great joy when I see my hard work pay off in the end.
It takes a great deal of bravery for Charley to completely overhaul her life-move to a different state, start a new job, and make a new home. What is the scariest thing you’ve ever faced?
- I’m not sure I would describe my experience as a teacher as the scariest thing I’ve done, but it is the most nerve-wracking.
Who was your favorite character and why?
- Charley was my favorite character because I saw a lot of myself in her. Stubborn, dramatic, hardworking, and determined.
Charley faces a lot of obstacles through the course of the novel. What do you see as the most significant milestone in her development as a character?
- ( I really had to think about this one). Her most significant milestone was realizing that her daughter is becoming more independent and that it’s okay to let go a little bit. I think she also realized Micah will always need her. ANNND I think she is starting finally forgive herself for the accident. The way she treats Micah shows that she will be more supportive and open-minded than Lorna is to her.
–> My, it’s a lot of questions. I will keep this mind for next month. Please answer the questions that really speak to your heart or just share your overall thoughts about the book! 🙂