The Human Stain Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What does Coleman Silk confess to his neighbor when he is 71 years of age?

Coleman Silk confesses to his neighbor that he is having an affair with a 34-year-old cleaning woman.

2. What is the current and past status of Coleman Silk's employment in this novel?

Coleman Silk used to be a Greek and Latin professor at Athena College,but retired two years before due to accusations of racial prejudice.

3. What happened to cause Coleman Silk to have to seek retirement from his job?

Coleman Silk was accused of racial prejudice when he called two absent students "spooks," but he meant ghosts, not in a derogatory manner.

4. What happened during the course of the investigation into Coleman Silk's accusations?

Iris, Coleman's wife, died of a stroke during the course of the investigation that would have eventually cleared Coleman's name.

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