Downright Dencey Short Essay - Answer Key

Caroline Dale Snedeker
This set of Lesson Plans consists of approximately 137 pages of tests, essay questions, lessons, and other teaching materials.
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1. How does Dencey's faith compare to her cousin Hopestill's faith?

In Chapter 1, the reader meets Dionis "Dencey" Coffyn and her cousin and best friend Hopestill. Hopestill is a devout Quaker girl with strong roots in her faith and belief in God. Dencey, a tomboy, has problems with her faith and is not sure why it is so important. Hopestill tries to help Dencey, but Dencey does not seem to be ready to hear the truth.

2. Explain the class system on Nantucket.

There is a clearly defined class system in place in Nantucket. The Fragmenters are looked down upon as poor ragamuffins and rowdy characters. The North Water Street Children are seen as high society. Dencey, whose last name is spelled Coffyn instead of Coffin, seems to have a taint on her family name.

3. What are the circumstances that make Dencey angry enough to throw a rock at Sammie Jetsam?

Jetsam turns his attentions to Dencey, calling her a "darkie" and "Portugee Girl." Dencey hates her swarthy complexion and wants to run away. Dencey chases Jetsam and picks up another stone which she throws. The stone hits Jetsam on the shoulder, and the boy drops his basket of eggs, breaking them and causing a huge mess. Jetsam is hurt and bleeding. The Fragmenters gather round to assess the damage. Dencey screams at the boys and tells them to get away, that Sammie is hurt. The Fragmenters point out that it was Dencey's rock that hit Sammie. Dencey says she will tell on all of them, including herself. Dencey attempts to help Sammie and is rewarded with a string of harsh words, kicks, and scratches.

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