Anything Is Possible Short Essay - Answer Key

Elizabeth Strout
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1. Why does it strike a nerve with Pete when Tommy asks about his mother?

Pete claims that his mother was never really around. Being asked about his deceased mother brings forward feelings of anger and resentment.

2. How would you describe the narrative style in Chapter 1, "The Sign"?

This story is related from a third-person narrator with focus on the thoughts and actions of its protagonist, Tommy Guptill. The story is related in the past tense, with further flashbacks to relate Tommy's back-story.

3. What happened to Tommy Guptill's dairy farm? Why?

Tommy Guptill's dairy farm burned to the ground many years ago, when Tommy was about 35 years old. The milking machines caused the fire, and Pete Barton believes that his father intentionally caused the fire.

4. What is the meaning of the title of Chapter 1, "The Sign"? To what does the "Sign" refer?

Chapter 1, "The Sign" is so named because of the vision that Tommy Guptill had on the night that his dairy farm burned. He saw a vision of God that night and knew everything would be okay. The sign also refers to the "Sewing and Alterations" sign that Pete destroys.

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