A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius Short Essay - Answer Key

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Short Essay Questions Key

1. What is wrong with Dave's mother at the beginning of Chapter 1?

Dave's mother, who suffers from stomach cancer, has a nose bleed. Dave watches her holding a towel to her nose while spitting into a small, half-moon shaped bowl. Dave's mother is always spitting into the bowl since the doctors removed her stomach.

2. How does Dave help his mother in the first chapter?

Dave's mother asks him to pinch her nose to help stop the bleeding. Dave crawls onto the back of the couch so he can hold the nose and watch television at the same time. After a while, Dave releases his mother's nose to see if the bleeding has stopped, but it continues as before.

3. Why does Dave call a nurse rather than take his mother to the hospital?

Dave knows that his mother's blood count is low and therefore a nose bleed could be deadly. However, Dave and his sister Beth promised their mother that they would never take her back to the hospital. Instead, Dave calls his mother's nurse.

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