Study Guide

Tar Beach Dissatisfaction

By Faith Ringgold


Lying on the roof in the night, with stars and skyscraper buildings all around me, made me feel rich, like I owned all that I could see. (5)

Cassie takes a lot of pleasure in her "possessions"—like the bridge and different buildings. But the fact that her most prized belongings are imaginary suggests that she may be lacking in material things like toys.

But still he can't join the union because Grandpa wasn't a member. (13)

The fact that Daddy can't join the union suggests that he tried and failed. Those jerks.

Well, Daddy is going to own that building, 'cause I'm gonna fly over it and give it to him. (14)

Problem solved, Daddy. Cassie's got you covered (in her imagination, at least).

Then it won't matter that he's not in their old union, or whether he's colored or a half-breed Indian, like they say. (14)

Oh wow, it sounds like Daddy really has been through a lot.

[Image of Daddy in a suit and tie, with a briefcase] (15)

Compare and contrast this image of Daddy with the one on the previous page. What differences do you see?

He'll be rich and won't have to stand on 24-story-high girders and look down. He can look at his building going up. (15)

Okay, call us crazy, but we're getting the feeling that Daddy really, really, really isn't happy at work.

And Mommy won't cry all winter when he goes to look for work and doesn't come home. (16)

Mommy isn't too happy, either, for that matter.

[image of Mommy sleeping in late] (17)

Cassie explores her family's problems mostly through her words. Everyone looks happy in the pictures.

And Mommy can laugh and sleep late like Mrs. Honey, and we can have ice cream every night for dessert. (17-18)

Daddy needs a whole building to fix his problems. Cassie? She just needs a bowl of ice cream.