On pages 192-194, Ward describes her classmates' refusal to speak up against a racist bully. If you had been one of her classmates, would you have spoken up? Why or why not?
"My entire community suffered from a lack of trust," Ward writes (169). Why do members of the community distrust society at large, as well as one another? What are the consequences of this epidemic of distrust in Ward's community? How can we build trust in the Tulane community?
"Here, family has always been a mutable concept" (110). Consider the flexible bonds of kinship in DeLisle. What makes each of the men memorialized in Men We Reaped—Joshua, Ronald, C. J., Demond, and Roger—"family," in Ward's eyes? What does family mean to you?
Men We Reaped is a testament to the author's resilience in the aftermath of tragedy. What factors helped her develop resilience? How might you build your own capacity to recover from adversity? How might you help a peer cultivate resilience after a setback?
The title Men We Reaped comes from a Harriet Tubman quote, which opens the book. Revisit the quote and discuss its relevance to Ward's memoir. How does the title convey the themes of loss, inequality, and community in the book?
Discuss the gender roles that men and women play in Ward's family and community. What are some of the freedoms—and risks—of being a black man in Mississippi? What are the unique challenges of being a girl, a woman, a wife, and a mother in this community? How do the men and women in Ward's life fight and succumb to these gender roles?
*Articles are shared for discussion purposes and do not necessarily reflect the views of Newcomb-Tulane College.
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