Study Guide

Alligator Bayou Prejudice

By Donna Jo Napoli


The turn of the twentieth century in the United States was not a tolerant or just time period for the nation. Racism was rampant, oppressing any and all people who didn't fall into the category of "white," which back then included—amongst many others—Italian people. And since Calo and his uncles and Cirone are all Sicilian immigrants, this means that racism features heavily in Alligator Bayou. The lives of Calo and his friends and family are shaped by prejudice constantly, and it impacts everything from the way Calo's uncles handle their stores to, ultimately, whether people live or die in this book.

Questions About Prejudice

  1. What are some of the first clues that Calogero and his family are unwelcome? How does Francesco take these clues? How does Carlo?
  2. What are some of the ways white Americans discriminate against Sicilians in this book?
  3. Are Sicilians treated the same as or different from Black people? How?

Chew on This

Alligator Bayou argues that all people are prone to fearing people they sense as a threat to their power.

Racism is a disease of ignorance and fear.

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