Study Guide

Alligator Bayou Chapter 3

By Donna Jo Napoli

Chapter 3

  • In the little veggie stand on the edge of town, Calo and his uncle Rosario don't hear word of any drama, so Calo feels pretty good about asking for Frank's help.
  • While Calo daydreams about seeing Patricia, who goes to school and takes piano lessons, Rosario calls to him in English for help, which means that white people are around.
  • At the stand, they barter their food (because their customers are mostly poor black people), but in Francesco's store in the middle of town they count coins, which is how the rich white people pay.
  • We also learn that Calo began speaking English back in Cefalu, the town he is from, to prepare him to go to America with his father… but then his father never sent for him. Ouch.
  • A super rich white lady—it's Willy Rogers's mother—and her black servant come into the shop, and Calo privately freaks out.
  • Mrs. Rogers orders food and then sneers at Calo's proper English diction, calling it "fancy" and "uppity." The nicest word we can think of for her is rude.
  • Outside, as the woman leaves, Calo calls out goodbye after her, and she commends him for switching bosses (since the other grocery is run by Francesco).
  • Creeping up behind him, Patricia criticizes Calo for kissing up to the white lady, and then she leaves, too. It turns out that Patricia is black.
  • Since Calo's been waiting for Patricia all day, he takes off after her even though Rosario calls after him.

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