Week 5. Questions to consider.

This week, we are reading pages 137-171 (“Common to Natives, but Not to Doctors” to “Novelty Creates Smell”). As you read, you may want to consider the following questions and discuss them in the comments section here.

Question 1

When Mini returns to school, she finds that her cousin — the instigator — can no longer bully her, because the cousin is held in check by the new students from Point Blue, QC. She comments: “I could not help but feel sorry for her. It’s painful to watch someone who has been so aggressive be demeaned.” Does Mini’s reaction resonate with you?

Question 2

Mini finds puberty bewildering and receives only limited information from her grandmother. In particular, her grandmother tells her that her “novelty” will come every month “unless she is touched by a man”. The ambiguity of this advice causes significant confusion for Mini and the employees at the residential school. Why do you think Mini includes this episode in her narrative?

Question 3

At two points in this section, Mini wants to know what her family members have been up to: (i) when her father makes the decision to leave his employment with the Freres store and (ii) when her brother arrives home late. In both cases, she does not ask her family members directly what happened. She explains: “If a person is questioned or forced to explain themselves, they will only lie.” Do you agree with this statement? How does this statement accord with our current policing and court practices?

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