Praisesong for the Widow Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What is the premise of this novel?

Praiseong for the Widow tells the story of a recently widowed woman's journey from her position living far from her Caribbean cultural identity and heritage to a place of having been reawakened by the very people from whom her ancestors came.

2. Who is the main character of the story and what is she doing as the novel opens?

The first chapter opens with Avey Johnson, the main character, furiously packing in the dark of night, intending to be completely done by the time the friends accompanying her on the cruise through the Caribbean wake up. She moves with the same urgency with which the impulse to leave for the cruise had seized upon her.

3. What were Avey's daughters' opinions of Avey going on the Caribbean cruise?

As Avey fills her six bags, her thoughts go to her youngest daughter, Marion, who scolded her not only for the excess of baggage for the trip, but for taking such a mindless trip in the first place. She insisted that her mother should take a trip that meant something, from which she could learn something. Her second daughter, Annawilda, had said a trip would be good for her, taking her mind off of their father, Avey's husband, who died the year before.

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