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4.27.2: Reading and Review Questions

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    1. What possible meanings and understanding on the narrator’s part are effected by the contrasts between the half-brothers, including their respective likeness to their father? Why?
    2. How does this story transform and ironize the statement, “Am I My Brother’s Keeper?” Cain made this response to God when asked about his brother Abel, whom Cain had murdered. Who does this story suggest is the original criminal? Why?
    3. Why does the Nurse sympathize so readily with Lucy’s plight, though their lives differ so greatly? What is Alcott’s point here?
    4. What does Lucy’s suicide say about honor and chastity—such as that the Roman matron Lucrece showed when she committed suicide after identifying her rapist to her husband? What does Robert’s desire for revenge and his ability to maintain self-control due to his love for Lucy say about honor and chastity?
    5. How does this story alter the connotations, or meanings, of such words as “contraband,” “my,” “brother,” “scar,” “white,” “boy,” and “child?” Why, and to what effect?

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