A Confederacy of Dunces Short Essay - Answer Key

John Kennedy Toole
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Short Essay Questions Key

1. Describe Ignatius' appearance at the beginning of the book.

Ignatius wears a green hunting cap, tweed trousers, plaid shirt, muffler and desert boots. His hauntingly large eyes, one yellow and one blue, show scorn for a world void of theology and geometry.

2. How does the beginning of the novel immediately show Irene as an eccentric, but neurotic woman?

As Irene Reilly shops for pastries, she complains to the clerk about her arthritis. She says she would soak her elbow in hot water but Ignatius is always in the tub. He has no prospects.

3. How does Jones claim the police treat blacks in New Orleans?

Jones says the police are throwing everyone in jail, blacks in particular. Claude says his only fault is calling an officer a Communist. Jones claims he would be in Angola if he did that. Someone steals cashews at Woolworth's and the police grab him. Jones seems resigned to being framed and sent up for life.

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