2 CharactersAmari- 15 year old girl from the Ewe tribe. She is captured and made a slave in the Carolina colonies.Polly- 15 year old indentured servant, whose dream is to obtain her freedom and become a “lady”.Kwasi- Amari’s younger brother.Besa- Amari’s betrothed husband who loses hope of finding freedom.Komla- Amari’s father. Ewe tribe historian/ storyteller who is killed when slave traders invade their tribe.
3 CharactersBill- the red-headed sailor on the ship who teaches Amari basic English words.Afi- befriends Amari and helps her endure the Middle Passage to the American Colonies.Percival Derby- purchases slaves to help run his rice plantation.Clay Derby- Mr. Derby’s son for whom Amari is purchased for his 16th birthday.Isabelle Derby- Mr. Derby’s wife. Impregnated by her slave/lover. Fears the life of her baby.
4 Characters Noah- Isabelle’s slave. Father of her child. Teenie- is the cook on Derbyshire Plantation. She teaches Polly and Amari the ropes.Tidbit- Teenie’s four year old son who is used as gator bait by Clay and his friends.Hushpuppy- Tidbit’s pup and trusted sidekick. Helps the children while running from the Derby’s plantation.Doctor Hoskins- doesn’t believe in slavery. Gives Amari, Polly, and Tidbit and horse and carriage to escape.
5 CharactersFiona O’Reilly- saves the children from the wrath of her husband. Helps them continue to escape to Fort Mose.Francisco Menendez- the leader of Fort Mose. The first black man in a position of authority that Amari has met.
6 Plot What happens to Amari’s village and family? Which members of the village survive the attack? Why?Why doesn’t Besa meet Amari’s eyes when they are captured?Who is Tirza and how does she die?What hardships does Afi tell Amari she will face?How is the Besa that Amari sees at the slave trading post different from the Besa she met in the village?
7 Plot Why is Afi so blunt with Amari? What do the slaves call the ship? What kind of song do the women sing aboard the ship? Why do they sing it?What happens to the slaves when the dock?Who is Polly and why is she at the slave auction?
8 Plot Why does Percival Derby buy Amari? What is different about Noah? What name does Clay give Amari?What is Polly’s primary job?What type of house are Amari and Polly supposed to inherit?Who are Teenie and Tidbit? Where do they live?
9 PlotWhat happened to Polly’s family? How many years is she an indentured servant? Why?Why does Tidbit wake the girls in the middle of the night?Why doesn’t Amari let on that she knows what’s going on?How does Clay feel about Isabelle Derby? Why?Why does Amari ask Teenie for an herb to kill a man? Who is she trying to kill?
10 PlotWhen Amari realizes that Polly is grieving the loss of her parents, she touches her hand. Why is this gesture so important?Describe Isabelle Derby.Who is Cato?What is the staple crop on the plantation?What has already happened to 6 slaves in the fields?
11 Plot Why does Mr. Derby whip Amari? Who stops the brutal beating? Who is blamed for Amari’s beating?What is supposed to happen to Amari?Describe Amari after the beating.Who comes to see Amari everyday while she is recovering?
12 Plot What does Clay send Amari after the beating? Why? Why does Clay bring Amari and Tidbit hunting with him?Why does Mr. Derby come to Teenie’s kitchen? What is he upset about?Why is Polly shocked to see Mrs. Derby’s baby?What does Isabelle ask Amari and Polly to do with the baby?
13 Plot Why does Isabelle fear for the baby? What does Mr. Derby do when he is told the baby is stillborn?What is Noah’s story?What does Mr. Derby do when he finds out the truth? HOW does he find out the truth?Why are Amari, Polly and Teenie being punished? What is their punishment?
14 Plot What is the plan to keep Clay from going with Dr. Hoskins? Where does Cato tell Amari and Polly to go?Why does Amari insist on going South?Who frightens the children when they first begin their journey?How do Amari and Polly travel?
15 Plot Why do Amari, Polly, and Tidbit get sick? Why does Tidbit become upset during their journey?How does Clay find them? What does he say about Mr. Derby?What ultimately happens to Clay?Who is Nathan?
16 Plot Who discovers the trio hiding in the shack? Who comes to hitch up the wagon for the trio?What does the Spanish soldier say about Fort Mose? What’s wrong with him?How do the children cross the river? Why is this so important?What is Tidbit’s real name?
17 Plot Where do the children end up? Who is Francisco Menedez? Describe each of the jobs that the trio will take on in Fort Mose?What is Amari’s surprise ending?
19 Symbolism Describe the symbolism of the copper sun. Clay’s nickname for Amari?Tidbit’s name and his revelation of “Timothy”.
20 Narration Whose point of view is the story told from? First person The story is relayed by a narrator who is also a character within the story, so that the narrator reveals the plot by referring to this viewpoint character as "I" (or, when plural, "we“Third Person limitedThe narrator knows only the thoughts and feelings of a single character, while other characters are presented only externally.Third Person omniscientThird person omniscient is a method of storytelling in which the narrator knows the thoughts and feelings of all of the characters in the story
22 Possible Short Answer Essays What predictions can you make about Amari in the next five years? Will the three of them still be together or will Polly have gone off on her own? How has Amari grown and changed?Discuss the argument between Amari and Polly over whether to go north or go south. Why was it extremely unusual to choose a southern route? What does this show about Amari's personality?What was the overall effect of the gator bait scene? How do you think Tidbit felt when he was in the water? How do you think his mother felt? Amari tried to object, but endangered Tidbit by doing so. How do you think she felt?
23 Possible EssaysCopper Sun is a work of historical fiction. How does the blending of history and fiction make for a successful story? Which elements are purely fictional? Which elements are basically historical? Why does learning history through fiction make the story more memorable?Discuss the character of Clay and his complicated feelings for Amari. Does he have any redeeming qualities, or is he purely a negative character? Compare Clay to his father Percival Derby.Why would Mr. Derby be socially and legally justified by what he did to Noah and the baby? Why didn't Dr. Hoskins speak up? Why is tragedy more memorable and more powerful than happiness in a novel?A student recently said, "I don't care about slavery. That happened a long time ago, and I don't want to think about it in my life today. It is no longer important." What do you think about that statement? Tell why you agree or disagree. What would you tell that student if you had the chance to have a conversation?