Monday, October 12, 2009

Discussion Questions for Chapters 7-12

Please post your two discussion questions for chapters 7-12 in the following format.
Discussion questions and responses are due on Tuesday, October 14th, 2009.

Q1 -
Q2 -

Once your questions have been posted, respond to the person you share your laptop with. If you don't share your laptop with another student, then feel free to respond to any two questions you would like.


  1. Q1) Is celebrating traditions, such as going to church, really important?
    A1) I think that celebrating traditions are important because it helps people remember what had happened, whether it was a sad or happy event. Also, if people remember what happened, they can build off of it to make a better living or, most importantly, to not repeat history (in a bad way).

    Q2) Why are people, like the Darrows, so quick to judge others?
    A2) In my opinion, judging people is an instinct that people have, whether they like it or not. But sometimes, people can change their ways so that they get to know someone before they make up their mind.

  2. Q1- Do you think it was Mr. Pluto (Mr. Skinner) who put the "triangles" in the house of Dies Drear and the wood paneling of the college?

    A1- I do not think it was Mr. Pluto/Skinner who placed the triangles in the house of Dies Drear and the wood paneling of the college. When Mr. Small and Thomas were going to church on Sunday and passed Mr. Pluto and Pesty in their buggy, Mr. Pluto asked them how they had slept in their new house and he had a straight face. I think that if it had been him it would have showed in his face.

    Q2- Who do you think messed up the Small's kitchen?

    A2- I think the Darrows messed up the Small's kitchen because from Carr's description, they sound rather mischievous and mean. Also they don't like Mr. Pluto/Skinner and so they probably do not like the house of Drear either. Also, the Darrows probably dislike the Smalls for living in the Drear house.

  3. Q1) Why do you think Mr. Small was suspicious of Mr. Skinner wearing gloves?

    A1) Mr. Small was probably suspicious, because as gamekeeper, Skinner couldn't have made much more than needed for food and water, and the gloves seemed somewhat new. Also, Mr. Skinner might've not had them on his hands when Mr. Small first met him a few months back.

    Q2) Who wrecked the Small's kitchen, what could be the purpose behind it?

    A2) I think the Darrows messed up the kitchen, one, to pull a prank on them and B, to scare them away from the house, and most probably the house.

  4. Q1) Do you think the Greek cross/triangles are some type of warning and who put out the triangles?

    A1)Yes, I think that it was a warning because something happens after they find the triangles. For example, when they found the triangle, they discovered that their kitchen was destroyed. The triangles form a cross, which could have something to do with religion and church. Also, I think the Darrows' put the triangles out to try and scare away the Smalls. The Darrows' probably destroyed the Smalls' kitchen was another warning to leave.

    Q2) What do you think made the Darrows' go to church? (the minister said they have not been to church in 4 months)

    A2) I think that Mac Darrow told his family about the Smalls. They were suspicious and decided to investigate them. The Darrows' do not seem to like the Smalls and they do not want them to live in Dies Drear's house. I wonder why the Darrows do not what the Smalls to live there...

  5. (responding to Natalie)
    I agree. I do not think that it was Mr.Pluto who put out the triangles. He does not seem to mind the Smalls.

  6. I agree with Natalie. It seems that the Darrows, rather than Mr. Skinner put up the triangles. I also think that there is a secret meaning to it, although the person/people who put it up don't realize it.

  7. (I'm keeping track of my questions so they're numbered 3 and 4 instead of 1 and 2.)

    Question 3: Do you think that Mr. Pluto is feared because of his superstition of ghosts? Why or why not?
    Answer 3: Possibly. He may be feared because of his superstitions, but it might be because of him "mixing the past with the present" as said by Mr. Small. And, of course, because he's the keeper of the house of Dies Drear.
    Question 4: Who do you think destroyed the Smalls' kitchen? Why do you think they did it?
    Answer 4: It may have been Mr. Pluto trying to scare them away. However, Mr. Pluto "does not seem to mind the Smalls" so it might not have been him. Judging by the fact that it's a fictional book, it might have been the so-called "ghosts."

  8. I agree with the people who agreed with me

  9. I acknowledge the other questions/responses and agree with many of them.

    Question 1: Why did the Darrows move their house to search underneath it?

    Answer 1: I think the Darrows were looking for hidden tunnels underneath their house. The event description (top of page 116) sounded as though the Darrows were searching for something and I assumed it was tunnels because of Pesty and Mac coming out from underneath the House of Dies Drear. Pesty and Mac caused me to believe this because it would not have been possible for them to cross the land without Thomas hearing them, unless they aren't human...

    Question 2: What importance did the Greek Cross (the one made from the triangles) have to the person who put the triangles?

    Answer 2: I researched the Greek Cross at this site- - and learned information that may or may not pertain to this book. About midway down the site page, there is a relation to the Swastika and the Greek Cross. Apparently, Adolf Hitler favored the Greek Cross and formed his own version. This is just guessing but, because the book takes place in the 60's and WWII took place in the 30's, I think the Swastika may have a connection to the Greek Cross formed by the triangles. Before some of you disagree, this book has a lot of living history, as Mr. Small says, and I am just trying to connect.

  10. Q1) Which character do you think that the author portrayed herself as? Why?

    A1) I think that she portrayed herself as Thomas Small because he is the middle child and their house was a stop on the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad also had a big impact on Virginia Hamlinton's life

    Q2) Do you think that the neighbors are hiding something?

    A1) I think that they are hiding something because they had a secret passage in their yard which led to their kitchen. Most people don't have secret passages to their kitchen.

  11. Q1) How does Mrs. Small fell about the so called "ghosts" in the house; and why does she think a baseball bat would hurt them?

    A1) I believe she fells frightened, but inquisitive. She also seems to be very protective of her family.

    Q2) What is the relationship between the Carr's and the Darrow's (if any)?

    A2) I believe (and I may be mistaken) that they are sort of like "frenemies". The don't seem to despise each other, but they aren't the best of friends.

  12. Responding to Natalie's first question, yes, I believe it was the Darrows. I don't know whether it was meant as a warning or a joke.

    Responding to Hannah's second question, I believe that they were trying to send the Smalls a message, but I don't know what that could be.

  13. That's an interesting idea, Keara, but in the book, I think it says that the Greek cross in this book helped the runaway slaves along the Underground Railroad. I don't think the Swastika could've helped.

  14. Question: What do you think the greek cross meant?

    Answer: I think it means that someone doesn't want them living there. I don't think it was a warning but the kitchen wreck was. I think that the greek cross was the doing of Mr. Pluto and the Darrows wrecked the kitchen.

    Question: Why do you think that Mr. Pluto sped away when Thomas asked where Pesty got her shoes and outfit?

    Answer: I think Mr.Pluto is hiding many secrets including where he got Pesty's outfit which Mr. Small said looks like it was taken out of history.

    P.S. I saw the movie so I kn.ow the answer so that's all I can say

  15. The Smalls were cast out in their new town yet they shunned Mr. Pluto. Why?

    I think they shunned mr. Pluto because of his character as well as the fact that they had been set on-edge because of him and began to create ideas out of what could've been nothing. The Smalls may have also thought that being rejected by a community was different from rejecting a man who they (and many others) believed to be the devil himself.

    What does a Greek cross have to do with anything? Call me crazy, but when I think of slavery in America, my first thought isn't exactly the Greeks.

    I tried researching the cross but I couldn't find anything matching the picture in the book. I don't know any history on the Greek cross to make any solid infernces but I believe that since they were found in the House of Dies Drear, maybe those were pieces to unlock a hatch or some sort of hidden coridor that slaves used to escape from the House of Dies Drear. So far, Thomas thinks that they had been warned to flee from the House of Dies Drear which leads me to believe that perhaps the ghosts of the killed salves were trying to warn them that history still haunts the air and danger stains the floors. Perhaps, there is a chance that the Smalls are at risk of past existing in the present and bringing its burden to force on the inhabitants of Dies Drear. I think the Smalls may need to fear for their lives.

  16. Responding to Liam's post:

    Lol.You're right. I don't know HOW a baseball bat could protect someone from ghosts. Only thing is, I don't think they thught it was ghosts. At the beginning (and I had forgotten about this), that Mr. Small had not told any of family of the legend and had gotten really mad at Thomas when he found out he had read it while he was gone. Oh and I don't think she's braave enought o be protective, but you're darn right about her feeling frightened. ;)

    Responding to Liam's second post:
    Again- LOL! :D they DO seem like "frenimies". Neither are about to go ring each other's necks but they aren't about to go have a cup of tea and cookies together. It seems like the Darrow's and Carr's can even be civilized :-o! ;P Since the relationship between the two family's hasn't been disclosed much yet the Darrow's seem like they are going to be an asset to the story whereas the Carr's may only have a part in the story because they are the gossipmongers. Their role will be to reveal (which is basically another word for "gossip") information about a character that will play a bigger role in the story, they are another way to discretely give backround to a main character.

    Sorry, those were WAY too long. XP

  17. Q1- Why do you think that churches played such an influence in being part of the town community, like how Thomas said that he was going to meet everybody in the town on Sunday at church?

    A1- I think that similar religious beliefs allowed people to get past their differences in politics and ethnicity. Although people went to churches to worship their gods, it is also used as a community tool to meet different people.

    Q2- If Pluto was a ghost of a slave, what period of slavery do you think he would have lived in? (Choices: 1614-1700, 1701-1794, 1795-1865)

    A2- I think since he is so obedient he would be in the 2nd category, 1701-1794, because that is when slaves where treated the best (although still horribly), and had the least rebellions.

  18. Question 1)Do you think Mr. Pluto is someone the Small family would be able to trust in the near future?

    Answer 1)NO!!Mr. Pluto is not someone I would trust or the Small family would trust because he has been really scary to Thomas,but not only him he is scary to me and the rest of the characters in the book (except for Pesty.)

    Question 2)Who do you think went into the Small's house in the middle of the night to place the triangles in the doorframes?

    Answer 2)I think the person who went into the house in the middle of the night was one of the four men at the church on Sunday becausse they would probably know where each person in the Small family slept, they could have helped Mr. Pluto with moving all the furniture in.

  19. (Responding to Zach)

    I also thought that Virginia was expressing herself and her opinion through Thomas.

  20. (Responding to Liam responding to me)
    I think that it was a warning, because my idea of a practical joke is not breaking and entering into someone's house and destroying their kitchen and the contents of their fridge.

  21. Questions:

    Q1: What is the significance of the Greek cross?

    Q2: What could the "bad blood" between the Darrows and Mr. Pluto mean for the Smalls?

    Responses to others' questions: (check the directions, it says to write two questions without answering them, and respond to the questions of the person sharing your laptop number. (if you don't share a laptop, then you can respond to anyone. I'm not responding to Austin because he hasn't posted yet.)

    A1: (to Luke's Q1) Churches have played an enormous role in the African American community since the slave were first converted. When they were working overtime in the field, the slaves could turn to God in song and ask him to relieve their suffering, which is expressed in all of the spirituals that the pre-war times brought. Since then, the church has remained an import part of life and social meeting place for the community.

    A2: (to Hannah's Q2) The Darrows seem very suspicious to me. First of all, just that they STOPPED going to church is an oddity, as it was one of the key social meeting places of the community. The only reason I can think of for why the Darrows made the return was to spy on their new neighbors the Smalls.

  22. (Responding to Eli)
    I think the bad blood between Mr. Skinner/Pluto and the Darrows could mean trouble for the Smalls since they all kind of live in the same area. The Smalls could get caught between a feud between Mr. Pluto/Skinner and the Darrows, and they would not know which side to pick or what to do.

  23. (P.S. I have also responded to other people's posts since Jonathon has yet to post his questions)

  24. Q1: Why do you think Mr. Pluto seemed to struggle with his explanation of the problem with his horse?

    A1: I think at the beginning he may have been lying, and was struggling for ways to continue the lie without revealing anything or seeming suspicious. But when Mr. Pluto said that his horse was haunted, I think he truly meant it.

    Q2: What do you think the importance was of Pesty baing in the choir?

    A2: I think it was important because it makes her seem more mysterious. The way Thomas describes her voice makes her sound very intriguing.

  25. Kean didn't post, so...I'll post to someone else.

    To Keara's second question:

    I really like your connection with the swastika. I thought about it, and realized the pieces of the Greek Cross could form the swastika. The only problem is- the swastika doesn't fit in the story very well.

    To Natalie's first question:

    I don't think it was Mr. Pluto. The book described the figure as a shadow, silent and dangerous. It almost seemed otherworldly. Mr. Pluto is a tall man, and would have made at least a small amount of noise. I pictured the figure as a shadowy, dark, ghost.

  26. (Responding to Sarah)

    I think that the Smalls will have to trust Mr. Pluto. I do not think he is scary, just mysterious.

  27. Like Natalie said responding to Eli, the Smalls inserted themselves in between the Darrows and Mr. Pluto, putting them in the equation. I think that they will have to choose sides. The Darrows or Mr. Pluto. Who would you choose?

  28. Question 1: Why do you think Mr Small said "I can get to town then buy a new lock... maybe two or three locks, the way things look here."?
    Answer 1: I think that Mr. Small said that he was going to buy a new lock because he didn't want Mr. Pluto to come because he kind of freaked him and his family out. Reason 2 because he didn't want the ghosts or spirits to come into him.
    Question 2: Do you think that Mr. Pluto is trying to get rid of the Small family?
    Answer 2: I think that Mr. Pluto is trying to get rid of the Small family because he doesn't want anyone in that house and he will do anything to get them out.

  29. I'm sorry if I have repeated any questions, and I'm not responding to Spencer, seeing as he hasn't posted.

    Q1: Do you think Dies Drear put the crosses on the walls?
    Q2: Why do you think Darrow's didn't like Mr. Pluto?

    A1: (to Liam) I agree with you, but I also think she could have been angry. Angry that someone (or someTHING) was messing with HER house and HER family.

    A2: (to Natalie) I think it could have been the Darrow's, but it could have been someone who wanted them to leave to protect them from "the unseen" or from the Darrow's.

  30. Q1- What do you personally think that the triangle means?
    A1- I personally think it means that it was a compass since it seems it is sort of like an arrow.

    Q2- Who do you think messed up the Small's kitchen and why do you thihnk so?
    A2- I think either the Darrows or someone else messed it up because they were attempting to scare them.

  31. Question 1- Do you think when Thomas kept looking at himself in the mirror earlier in the chapters, it was foreshadowing that the guy would come through the mirror during the night and put the triangles in the door?
    Answer 1- In some way, yes. I dont think it was full on giving you a hint on what would happen, but it was there.

    Question 2- Do you think whoever came in through the mirror,(passage way) and whoever messed up the kitchen was actually a ghost like Mrs. Small said at the end of chapter twelve?
    Answer 2- Im not sure who it could have been, but i doubt its a ghost.

  32. (responding to Una)
    I agree with you on both of your Questions and answers. But about the first question, what he doesnt know is that whatever the thing was, it came from behind the mirror, so his locks will keep out Pluto, but not the mysterious guy.

  33. The person who shares my computer hasn't posted yet, so in response to Katie's second comment:

    That was a very powerful response. I especially liked the part about history haunts the air and danger stains the floor. It was very well written. I also agree with your first response about the shunning of Pluto. It's kind of strange how the Smalls don't accept him.

  34. Q1: Why do you think that the Darrows and the Carrs have grudges against each other?
    I think that the two fathers of both families did not get along well when they were younger, and so they passed on the hatred to their offspring. The Darrows are larger and probably more intimidating so that is why they fool around on the Carr farm.

    What do you think the significance of the Greek Cross is that is displayed with all 4 triangles?
    I think that it means this person may be of European Origin. It also might mean that this person is religious or thinks that they are. If they are such people, then they might be doing this because God told them to or the church ordered them to, just like in The Da Vinci Code.

  35. Q:Do you think Mr. Pluto came in the house, or was it someone else?

    A:I do not think it was Mr. Pluto because it said it came out of the mirror and it did not have a reflection.

    Q:Why would the four pieces make a Greek cross?

    A:My educated guess is that it is another one of those "signs" that Thomas keeps getting. This may show that whatever is going to happen is going to happen when they are at church.

  36. Q: What do you think the four triangles mean?

    A: I think that they are a key to the paseges under the house.

    Q: What do you think came in through the miror?

    A: I think that posibly someone from the vilege came to give them a way out of the house in emergency because they know something we do not.

    A for Haley C.s Q: I think that traditions should be fowlowed because we need to remeber our history so that we do not make the sme mistake over and over again.

  37. (Responding to Jonathon)
    I agree with you about the Darrows being the ones to demolish the kitchen of the Smalls. I think the triangles representing a compass is an interesting idea, I think that whoever put them there were just trying to scare the Smalls.

  38. Q1:Why did Pluto live underground?

    A1: To live close to the House of Dies Drear and to be connected with the underground tunnels near the house.

    Q2: How come Pesty and Mr. Pluto have a friendship?

    A1: Probably so Pesty can see what Pluto is doing so she can tell people if he is doing anything strange.

  39. Q1: Who do you think trashed the house with the flour?

    A1: I think it wasn't one of what Thomas calls a 'ghost', but easily a neighboor that likes to scare people. My guess is the Darrows to scare the Smalls out of the house, or Mr. Pluto, since he was so mysterious and has access to the house.

    Q2: Why is Mr. Pluto so close to Pesty if she is came to him as a stranger?

    A2: Mr. Pluto maybe when he was younger, he never had a child a nd Pesty may have replaced that loss.

    I posted a day late due to my absence, sorry

  40. Response to Dean's 2nd q
    I think that the triangles formed a cross because, back in the civil war days of slavery, religon was popular and the bible was needed. The slaves actually got the story of Moses as an idea to escape slavery, so a person may have made a cross to symbolize the religon and thanked it for getting to the point on his/her journey.

  41. Q1:Why did Pluto lie about his horse?
    A1:I think Pluto lied about his horse to possibly try and shun the presence of ghosts from the Smalls's minds to keep them interested in the house or possibly to hide some grand scheme involving mind control and some sort of great curse, or something of the sort.

    Q2:What on earth did Pluto mean when he said "When hoot owl screeching, westward flies,
    Gauge the sun...
    Look to Dies,
    And Run."
    A2:I think this poem could be a coded message where when hoot owl screeching, westward flies means: When given the(or a) signal escape westward, like from an eastern slave state like Georgia or in that area to a path in the underground railroad towards Dies Drear's house, then Gauge the sun means: decide whether or not to continue to Canada(heavan), Look to Dies means: look to Dies Drear for advice on what to do, and And Run means: Once you have made your dicision, run toward your goal.

  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

  43. Q1: Is Thomas just paranoid about the house being haunted?

    A1: yes, because the people who want them to leave are probably not ghosts.

    Q2: What does the Greek Cross mean?

    A1: I think it means someone wants to scare them out of the house and if they don't something bad is going to happen.

  44. Q1: Does Thomas believe in Ghosts?
    A1: He tried to convince himself no but he was still afraid of ghosts.

    Q2: Who set the Greek crosses?
    A2: It could have been anyone but It was either Pluto or Pesty.

  45. Q1 Who put the Greek Crosses on the rooms door and in the high school?

    Q2 Why did Pluto kneel at church?

  46. Q1-Why are the gloves that Mr. Pluto wears so significant?

    A1-The gloves were very new and expensive unlike the rest of his clothes he owned.

    Q2-Do you think that it was Pluto who trashed the Small's kitchen?

    A2-Yes, I do think that it was Pluto who trashed the Small's kitchen because he lives in the cave below their kitchen.