God Help the Child Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What does Lula Ann’s dark skin mean to her mother?

Sweetness says that she is afraid for her daughter’s experiences with such dark skin. She anticipates her being shunned and made fun of, harassed and abused, and she takes her dark skin as a stain on a family that has always prided itself on light skin.

2. What does skin color mean in Sweetness’ family?

Sweetness says that her mother could pass as white, and not be resigned to the colored only buses, water fountains, etc. She said that her grandmother would return mail from her darker-skinned family, in order to preserve her respectability in the white culture where she passed.

3. How does Lula Ann’s skin color affect Sweetness’ marriage?

Lula Ann’s darkness causes Sweetness’ husband to leave, as he and Sweetness were both light-skinned, and he took the dark child as evidence of infidelity. He does send money, though, $50 a month, to help Sweetness with the child.

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