Discussion Questions for "The Taste of Collards" by C.C. Guthrie

1. As a rural landlord in the 1930s, Barton seems to have almost infinite power over his tenants. How different do you think that is today? What resources would tenants like Lizbeth have that she wouldn’t have had at the time?

2. “The Taste of Collards” paints a vivid picture of poverty in the country. What elements of that poverty made an impression on you? How might poverty in the city differ from the conditions in which Lizbeth and her family live?

3. What do you think of the way Lizbeth dealt with the threat to her daughter, both before and after Barton’s arrival? What other options might she have had?

4. The author uses Deputy Wallace’s refusal to take off his hat as a symbol of his lack of respect for Lizbeth. How important does this seem to you? Is respect as represented by good manners important in the culture you grew up in? In your grandparents’ culture?

5. Did you create a picture of Lizbeth and her son and daughter in your mind as you read the story? Did you assign a race to them or wonder whether they were black or white? How important do you think race would have been in the culture of rural poverty in the 1930s? Today?