Study Guide

Tar Beach Freedom and Confinement

By Faith Ringgold

Freedom and Confinement

I will always remember when the stars fell down around me and lifted me up above the George Washington Bridge. [2]

Through the power of imagination, Cassie can free herself from the confines of her apartment building.

I could see our tiny rooftop, with Mommy and Daddy and Mr. and Mrs. Honey, our next-door neighbors, still playing cards as if nothing was going on […] [3]

Cassie and her family live in a small apartment in New York City. They like to go up on the roof when they need a break from their hot apartment.

Sleeping on Tar Beach was magical. Lying on the roof in the night, with stars and skyscraper buildings all around me, made me feel rich […] [5]

In her imagination, Cassie has the freedom to be whoever she wants. She can own the tallest skyscrapers and the longest bridges.

I can fly—yes, fly. Me, Cassie Lightfoot, only eight years old and in the third grade, and I can fly. That means I am free to go wherever I want for the rest of my life. [10]

Why is it important for Cassie to believe that she can go wherever she wants?

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

It sounds like Daddy is trapped in a bad situation at work.

Tonight we're going up to Tar Beach. Mommy is roasting peanuts and frying chicken, and Daddy will bring home a watermelon. [21]

Sounds a lot like a picnic, right? Cassie and her family have a little piece of urban paradise.

I have told him it's very easy, anyone can fly. [24]

Cassie's a good role model for her little bro, showing him the ropes with the whole power-of-flight thing.

All you need is somewhere to go that you can't get to any other way. [24]

Cassie takes the impossible—somewhere to go that you can't get to any other way—and makes it happen. You can tell she's going to go far in life.