them Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What is Loretta's situation at the beginning of the novel?

Loretta is 16 years old. She lives with her anti-social older brother Brock, and her unemployed alcoholic father. Loretta's mother was institutionalized for mental health issues and died several years earlier.

2. What is Loretta's reputation as a teenager?

Loretta is very good-looking, with long blond hair and a thin waist; as a result, there are rumors that she spends time with the wrong kinds of boys.

3. What happens to Loretta and Bernie?

Loretta sees Bernie on the street and he convinces her to go to a party with him. After the party, they return to Loretta's house and have sex. The next morning, Loretta is woken by a gunshot and realizes that Bernie is dead, and Brock has killed him.

4. How does Loretta meet Howard?

Howard Wendall is the police officer who investigates Bernie's murder. He forces himself on Loretta sexually, as payment for helping her cover up Brock's crime.

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