Study Guide

Alligator Bayou Chapter 7

By Donna Jo Napoli

Chapter 7

  • It is the rare Sunday (once a month) when Father May (a French Catholic priest) travels to Tallulah to give a Mass; Calo tries to pay attention, but he doesn't understand the priest.
  • Calo feels good about going to church, anyway, because his mother would want him to be there.
  • While the priest speaks in French, Calo remembers taking Rocco to Mass and holding him on his lap.
  • During a meal, Calo desperately wants to sigh with his cousin over the adult conversation, which he still can't understand, but Cirone is sullen. Calo feels lonely.
  • With permission to leave, Calo runs to Frank's house for his lessons, where he bursts in and finds his tutor painting.
  • Calo asks Frank why his speech is called fancy, and Frank explains that it's because he is educated, while most of the white adults in town aren't. They didn't go to school, because their parents wouldn't let them go to school with black children, who were allowed to attend during a brief period after the Civil War.
  • Asked about the problem of lynching, Frank tells Calo that thousands of black people have been murdered, without trials, by big groups of white people. Frank says that Calo should ask his uncles about the lynching in New Orleans.
  • Calo learns that dago is an insult to Sicilians, but he doesn't find out what it means exactly. He then gets into a little debate with his teacher over whether Jefferson Davis was good or not. The voting laws that Francesco has been complaining about make it impossible for Sicilian-born American citizens, and for most black people, to vote.
  • Once Frank realizes that Calo doesn't know what American Indians are, he takes him on a trip.

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