Tuesday, September 22, 2009

October 2009 - Middle Passage by Charles Johnson

Discussion Questions:
  1. General impressions - did you enjoy the book? Why or why not?

  2. Summarize the message Johnson wanted to convey through this novel.

  3. Discuss Rutherford's unique position on the ship. Would Rutherford have reacted differently on the ship if he had been one of the mistreated plantation slaves? Explain.

  4. What do you think of the book's format (ie. use of journal entries)? How would the story have been different if it were told by an unknown narrator?

  5. What do you think of the novel's graphic realism?

  6. What would have happened if Rutherford married Isadora instead of boarding the ship? What course would his life have taken? Would Isadora have been able to change him?

  7. If the sailors had not attempted mutiny, how would the Africans have attempted to take over the ship?

  8. Rutherford talks about not having an identity before he went on the ship, but instead of being a tapestry of "pieces of fragments of all the people who touched (him), places (he) has seen and houses (he) broke into." After he returned home, how do you think he would define his identity?

  9. Do you really think that people like Papa were involved in the slave trade through investments but didn't know it?

  10. If you weren't killed in the mutiny, how would you have survived on the Republic?

  11. What other books have you read about slave trade? How does this compare?

Menu: "Papa's New Orleans Shrimp Feast"

  • Cajun Chicken - Chandra
  • Shrimp Creole - Kate
  • Creole Succotash - Jen
  • drinks and hot rice - Sherrie

See you Thursday, Oct 22nd at 7:30!


  1. Anyone else surprised to find out this book was written in 1990!!?? I walked away from the "Read It and Eat" description thinking that this was WRITTEN in the 1830's... I was expecting something VERY different than this!

  2. My parents are coming out for an unexpected visit, and it looks like next Thursday will be their last evening here with us (they're splitting the two-week visit between us here and my brother & family in Elora). If their plans change, I'll be at the meeting, but if things go as planned, I won't be able to attend. So it's probably best if someone else makes the Cajun Chicken dish in case I don't make it there...

  3. I can do the Chicken, Chandra! Have a good visit with your Mom and Dad. :-)


Tell us what you think!