Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Text used: Dell Publishing Co., Inc.
Laurel-Leaf Library  1980
ISBN: 0-440-96132-7

For Wikipedia information on Paula Fox go here.

Please do NOT contact me for answers to Chapter or Test questions. Your request will not be answered.



Chapter Six: The Spaniard 










quilted over



spirits (2x)



to pounce








cat's cradle

to rouse up



to berth





  1. Why does the author begin this chapter with the argument over the cockfight?
  2. What does Stout want from Jessie? Why does he steal his pipe and throw it into the hold? Why does he force Jessie down into the hold to search for it?
  3. Find the islands of Martinique and Cuba on the map. Give longitude and latitude of each.
  4. Why is Jessie afraid of Stout? Is it only because Stout can beat him, or is there more? Why does he bring up the fact that Stout tormented the slave woman to death?
  5. In the chapter Purvis says that Stout is dead and talks about "little dolls" with "gunpowder" on them. What does he mean?
  6. Why does Purvis force Jessie to play cat's cradle with him?
  7. Jessie thinks that all people who go to sea must be mad. Why does he think that? Is it true?
  8. Purvis states about flying fish: "I wouldn't want to eat anything that hasn't made up its mind whether it belonged in water or air." What does he mean with that? Does it make sense? If not, why does Purvis believe it?
  9. Greedy Captain Cawthorne wants to hang on to the shackles the slaves were tied down with. Why does Sharkey think the Captain is a fool to do so?
  10. Why does Jessie suddenly become dizzy?
  11. When Jessie asks Purvis where he lives, the man answers: "My home is where I'm at." What does that tell you about Purvis?

Getting Pushy

The word repulse means "to drive back". It is derived from the Latin pellere "to push". Ten other words derived from pellere are listed below. Try to use them correctly in the following sentences.











  1. Purvis' reassuring words _____ some of Jessie's fears. (drove away)
  2. My brother is _____ neat, because he is always cleaning his room. (obsessively)
  3. Jessie was so afraid that he could feel his heart _____ . (rhythmical beating)
  4. Jessie regretted his _____ remark when he saw Stout's nasty smile. (made without forethought)
  5. There we so many Davids in his class, that he used his middle name as his _____ . (identifying name)
  6. It was _____ that Jessie played the pipe every day. (required)
  7. If caught, the crew of The Moonlight would have faced greater punishment than just _____. (banishment)
  8. The smell in the hold of the slave ship was _____ . (disgusting, repulsive)
  9. None of the sailors felt _____ to do something about the plight of the slaves. (driven)
  10. _____ by the threat of a storm The Moonlight, quickly lifted anchor. (driven forward, propelled)

Matching Causes and Effects

Match each effect (action or decision) with its cause (the reason that something occurs). Each answer may be used only once.



The Moonlight could not be captured.


When Jessie is dropped in the hold among the slaves he can't move at first.


Stout sends Jessie down among the slaves to look for his pipe.

The slaves were confined below deck.

Purvis doesn't want to eat flying fish.

The sight of the wretched shambling men and women.

Cawthorne saves the shackles.


Poisons the soul,

With all sails stretched.

High death rate.


Jessie becomes agitated.


The Moral of the Story is _____

The Slave Dancer is a "coming-of-age" story. By the time the book is concluded, Jessie will have learned many - mostly painful - lessons. These morals (principles or lessons taught by a story or experience) prepare Jessie to become a responsible adult. Besides showing us how Jessie grows up, the author tells us how immoral people can be by showing us the horrors of the slave trade.


A list of of morals and learning experiences in The Slave Dancer follow. For the first four questions, list a learning experience that helps Jessie see the moral. Then for the last four questions, create a moral that expresses what Jessie gains from the learning experience.


Moral: When you resist a person who is more powerful than you are, you will suffer the consequences.

Learning experience: Stout throws Jessie's pipe down into the hold and tells him to find it.


  1. People who are friendly to you are not necessarily your friends.
  2. People can be misled by their own words and thoughts.
  3. Doing inhumane things will corrupt those who do so.
  4. Some people will do almost anything for money.

Learning Experiences

  1. Jessie plays his pipe to make the slaves dance.
  2. Purvis' attitude towards Jessie.
  3. The slave boy points out where Jessie's pipe is.
  4. Cawthorne kills Spark.

On step further

Choose a moral from the preceding exercise. Write a fable that shows how an imaginary character learns that lesson. A fable is a story with a moral that often includes talking animals and other elements of fantasy.

Character Connections

The Slave Dancer boasts a large cast of characters. These characters relate to Jessie's life in a number of ways. To distinguish all these characters and understand their relationship to Jessie, a simple visual diagram can be helpful.


Copy the "balloons" of character connections below. In each "balloon" write the name of at least two characters that fit the label. Pick the names from the list on page 6 of your book; some names can be used more than once. Then answer the questions that follow.

Give an example of a character who serves as both foe and friend to Jessie. Give evidence to show the character's hostile and friendly actions.

  1. Which character seems to influence Jessie the most? Why do you think this might be so?
  2. Which character seems to influence Jessie the least? Why do you think this might be so?
  3. Which character seems most admirable to you? Why?
  4. Which character did you find most degraded? Why?
  5. Which two groups overlap the most?
  6. Which group do you think influences Jessie the most? Why do you think this is so?
  7. Which group do you think influences Jessie the least? Why do you think this is so?
  8. Which group seems most admirable to you? Why?

One Step Further

Prepare a diagram of your own life using at least four of the categories from the previous exercise. Put a plus sign in the circle of the group that has the most influence on you. Place a minus sign in the circle of the group that has the least influence on you.

After completing your rating, compare your responses to Jessie's. Are they different? If so, how might your way of life or personality account for the differences?

Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Chapter 7 - Chapter 8 - Chapter 9