Tumbling

Tumbling Study Guide Herbie is the husband of Noon, he hangs out mostly at clubs.

He finds a baby girl on the steps of his front door one night. The baby is the one thing that kept both Noon and Herbie together in times of conflict, he always returned to her because of the baby that they named Fannie. Herbie is not religious like his wife and the Reverend feels that if he had been kinder and more god fearing, Noon could open up to her. He feels that he has his own sexual needs that he must fill by seeing woman named Ethel at a lounge each night. Had he been able to win Noon over, he would not have to see Ethel, he loves her however she can not full fill his desires. Herbie is a protective and loving father towards his daughter Fannie and would do anything for her. Noon is the wife of Herbie, she is god fearing and very religious-oriented. Because of her family background, her father was a reverend in Virginia. She is conservative, caring and motherly, she takes in Fannie as if it were her own child. To Noon fannie is the child she could never give birth to due to her insecurities and trauma she acquired as a 12 year old girl, when she was abused by a cult. That fear prevents her from satisfying her husband herbie and having a child., since that tragic incident as a child, she acts very closed and she blushes when she starts to open up about her true feelings. She looks up to the Reverend at her church for spiritual guidance in the hopes that she will heal and that God can guide her to make the best decisions in life. Near the end of the story, she finds the courage to take charge and overcome her fears. Ethel, is a singer that travels all around the world. She is very beautiful and understanding. She sees it as her duty to help men free themselves, as a part of a redemption for what happened to a man that was killed by her mentally unwell mother. In sleeping with men, she becomes free from the guilt and pain, by being with men she feels as she is delivering them from their own needs and pain. Ethel is Herbie’s friend, however he is in love with her. Although Ethel would rather not be committed to anyone but herself, she wishes to continue with her career and be her own woman. One day she is informed that her sister has died and she must become the guardian of her niece Liz. She is aware that with her lifestyle of a singer, that she would not be able to properly take care of a child, with that

thought she decides to leave the child with Herbie and Noon because she views them as perfect parents for her. Ethel is strong and not easily broken down by others, in the end she comforts others the most. Fannie is the adopted daughter of Noon and Herbie, she was found on their front steps and her parents were unknown. She is able to look into the future and see premonition, she has an amazing sense of clairvoyance, when others are blinded by greed or are just naïve to situations she is the one who is able o see through it. Fannie is the daughter that noon and herbie could never have, they view her as a blessing and the light in their life. Her personality is very understanding and tomboyish, she is an opposite to her sister Liz. Her fear is of fate, because she is unsure if she can prevent things from happening by changing fate. As an infant she was left on Noon and Herbie’s steps by Ethel, her appearance started the whole story. Liz, is the niece of Ethel. Her birth mother is died in a car crash and she was taken in by Ethel at 5 years old. Her connection with Fannie and Noon is very strong, as if they were biological family where as she is cold and withdrawn around herbie and they exchange mutual awkward responses. She is the only one who knew that Herbie and Ethel met each night, and as a result she hated him for taking Ethel’s attention and betraying Noon. Liz dreams of a life of glamour and class, her standards are high and almost impossible to meet with her impeccable taste. Often the becomes self absorbed and ungrateful towards Noon as she becomes older. From the trauma of seeing Ethel with men each night and fear of monsters under her bed, Liz copes with insecurities and fears by chewing on pieces of plaster on the walls and spitting them out. She craves for attention. -Make a list of Time markers McKinney- Whetstone uses to revive this bygone era of the mid20th century. Some time markers include: jazz/ swing music being preformed at the Royale the genre of music was predominant in the era, the record player being used by Ethel in her room.

--What local landmarks or well-known businesses mentioned in the novel have disappeared from our cityscape?

Local businesses that went missing from the cityscape include: The Wanamaker’s department store, The Royal Crown, the Church Noon attended, Pop’s corner store as well as Bow’s barbershop no longer exist. -The migration of African Americans from the South to the North was still taking place during the 1940's and early 1950's. What references are made to the South? The references to the south is the type of food that Noon makes each day, most originate from the food from Virginia. Also in the book when they find Fannie, they talk about the laws for adopting children in the South compared to the harsher ones in Philadelphia. Instead of the Fannie just being considered as their child by the eyes of the church Herbie and Noon must legalize it.

- List occasions in which food is an integral part. What is typically served? Why is food given so much attention in the book? Food is mentioned many times throughout the novella, each day Noon prepares breakfast of quick bread, bacon and eggs. The way she cooks shows her southern roots as well as her neighbors roots. The food they bring to Fannie’s adoption and as well as food brought to Fannie’s and Liz’ s birthday show that the events are important. The more elaborate and types of food the more important the event. - Recount several instances of racism encountered by characters in the novel. How does the author use these incidents to recreate the prevalent racism Africans endured during this time period ? The author uses the incidents to set the stage, it shows some of the extent of racism and how it effected the lives of Africa Americans at that era and portrayed how common it was to act in such a way. Some incidents that portrayed racism were: when Tom Moore see’s the racism and wrong being done and as a result he leaves to go back home, when the man looking to confirm Liz’s adoption comes to Noon’s home and curses the family out, the cult that kidnaps Noon as a child, the organization that wants to relocate the African American community from the neighborhood.

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