The scribe study guide
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“THE Scribe” study guide. Check cashing service centers usually tend to be located in poor neighborhoods. While we are not certain, it is implied that the narrator lives in a poor neighborhood. .

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“THE Scribe” study guide

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“THE Scribe” study guide

Check cashing service centers usually tend to be located in poor neighborhoods. While we are not certain, it is implied that the narrator lives in a poor neighborhood.

1. The narrator lives in an apartment above a check cashing service center. What might we infer about his neighborhood?

The man behind the counter is rude and condescending to the old woman. The narrator feels angry about the way she is treated. We can infer that the narrator is kind and caring. He has a sense of integrity and does not want innocent people to be taken advantage of.

2. How does the man behind the counter treat the old woman? How does the narrator feel about this? What can we infer about the narrator’s character?

We can infer that old man Silver and old man Dollar exploit their customers and look down on them. We can tell that they are only concerned about money, which is why the author gives them the names “silver” and “dollar.”

3. The narrator says that old man silver and old man dollar clean up on folks who cannot fill out their own forms. What can we infer about these two characters? Why do you suppose the author gives them these names?

James’ mother reacts calmly. She points out that not everybody has had the same advantages as James and that it is not their fault. We can infer that James’ mother has a sense of wisdom and understanding about life.

4. How does james’ mother react when james comments about all of the people cannot read? What can we infer about her?

James’ mother likely does this to humble James and to explain to him that it is no fault of those who have had difficult lives.

5. Why do you suppose james’ mother points out that it is not a disgrace for the people who cannot read?

James’ mother tells James about the scribes to illustrate how he should NOT act towards those who cannot read. We can compare the scribes to Mr. Silver and Mr. Dollar.

6. Why do you suppose james’ mother tells james about the scribes? Who can we compare the scribes to in the story?

James sets up a booth outside of the check cashing service center and becomes a free-service public scribe. We can infer that he is compassionate and hates injustice. He is a character of action.

7. What does james do the morning after he learns about the scribes? What can we infer about his character?

James is confronted by a police officer. He is not allowed to give his services for free and he cannot charge without a license. James’ internal conflict is that he is angry, but cannot legally help those who are being exploited.

8. What dilemma does James run into? What is his internal conflict?

We can infer that despite James’ young age, he is mature and has self-control. Based on James’ previous actions though, we can predict that he will still try to find a way to help elderly people.

9. James leaves after the conflict with the police officer. He is angry, but does not show it. What can we infer about james’ character? What do you predict james might do?

We can infer that life for many African Americans in this setting is very difficult. It is likely that the type of exploitation happening at the check cashing center is NOT rare.

10. james’ mother tells james that, “a lot of our people are afraid of banks.” what can we infer about how life is like for African Americans in this setting?

James decides to secretly try to convince people to go to the bank. We can infer that he does not give up easily and that he is willing to take risks.

11. What does james do after he learns about the bank? What can we infer about his character?

The old woman tells James that he should not be afraid of trying new things. She tells him about how she left Alabama. James then considers going to City Hall and applying for a business license.

12. What lesson does the old woman teach james? How does it affect him?

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