Study Guide

Having Our Say Principles

By Sarah and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth

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The Delanys are one principled family. Led by the one-and-only Henry Delany and his fiery wife Nanny, the Delanys strive to be the best Christians, Americans, and citizens they can be—even if white society refuses to recognize them as such. Undeterred, the Delanys stick to their principles like peanut butter to the roof of your mouth. Yum. Here's the best part, though—it works. Through the sheer force of their determination and ethics, the Delanys go on to become one heck of a family: the kind of family your mom wishes you had, you know? So what we're trying to say is this: keep reading or your mom will be disappointed in you.

Questions About Principles

  1. Is Henry too strict of a father? Why or why not?
  2. How do Henry and Nanny's family histories help shape their principles?
  3. Do Sadie and Bessie stay true to the Delany family code? Why or why not?
  4. How would you describe the fundamental Delany family values?

Chew on This

The Delany family principles are a blend of Christian moralism and American self-reliance.

Although the Delany family's principles help Sadie and Bessie reach their goals, they also have the less fortunate side effect of making them sheltered and at times naive.

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