In this session, we will be bringing you the updated answers for CommonLit The War Of The Wall topic.
The War Of The Wall CommonLit Answer Key
Let us first read The War Of The Wall passage and will answer at the end.
The War Of The Wall
By Toni Cade Bambara (1939-1995). He was an African American author, filmmaker, and social activist. In this
short story, a woman paints a wall that belongs to the kids of the neighborhood. The story is set during the
Vietnam War, when many American soldiers were sent to fight overseas.
Me and Lou had no time for courtesies. We were late for school. So we just flat out told the painter lady to quit messing with the wall.
It was our wall, and she had no right coming into our neighborhood painting on it. Stirring in the paint bucket and not even looking at us, she mumbled something about Mr. Eubanks, the barber, giving her permission. That had nothing to do with it as far as we were concerned. We’ve been pitching pennies against that wall since we were little kids.
Old folks have been dragging their chairs out to sit in the shade of the wall for years. Big kids have been playing handball against the wall since so-called integration2 when the crazies’cross town poured cement in our pool so we couldn’t use it.
I’d sprained my neck one time boosting my cousin Lou up to chisel Jimmy Lyons’s name into the wall when we found out he was never coming home from the war in Vietnam to take us fishing.
“If you lean close,” Lou said, leaning hipshot against her beat-up car, “you’ll get a whiff of bubble gum and kids’ sweat. And that’ll tell you something — that this wall belongs to the kids of Taliaferro Street.” I thought Lou sounded very convincing. But the painter lady paid us no mind. She just snapped the brim of her straw hat down and hauled her bucket up the ladder.
“You’re not even from around here,” I hollered up after her. The license plates on her old piece of car said “New York.” Lou dragged me away because I was about to grab hold of that ladder and shake it. And then we’d really be late for school.
When we came from school, the wall was slick with white. The painter lady was running string across the wall and taping it here and there. Me and Lou leaned against the gumball machine outside the pool hall and watched. She had strung up and down and back and forth. Then she began chalking them with a hunk of blue chalk.
The Morris twins crossed the street, hanging back at the curb next to the beat-up car. The twin with the red ribbons was hugging a jug of cloudy lemonade. The one with yellow ribbons was holding a plate of dinner away from her dress. The painter lady began snapping the strings. The blue chalk dust measured off halves and quarters up and down and sideways too. Lou was about to say how hip it all was, but I dropped my book satchel on his toes to remind him we were at war.
Some good aromas5 were drifting our way from the plate leaking pot likker onto the Morris girl’s white socks. I could tell from where I stood that under the tinfoil was baked ham, collard greens, and candied yams. And knowing Mrs. Morris, who sometimes bakes for my mama’s restaurant, a slab of buttered cornbread was probably up under there too, sopping up some of the pot likker. Me and Lou rolled our
eyes, wishing somebody would send us some dinner. But the painter lady didn’t even turn around. She was pulling the strings down and prying bits of tape loose.
Side Pocket came strolling out of the pool hall to see what Lou and me were studying so hard. He gave the painter lady the once-over, checking out her paint-spattered jeans, her chalky T-shirt, her floppy brimmed straw hat. He hitched up his pants and glided over toward the painter lady, who kept right on with what she was doing.
“Whatcha got there, sweetheart?” he asked the twin with the plate.
“Suppah,” she said all soft and countrylike.
“For her,” the one with the jug added, jerking her chin toward the painter lady’s back.
Still, she didn’t turn around. She was rearing back on her heels, her hands jammed into her back pockets, her face squinched up like the masterpiece she had in mind was taking shape on the wall by magic. We could have been gophers crawled up into a rotten hollow for all she cared. She didn’t even say hello to anybody. Lou was muttering something about how great her concentration was. I butt him with my hip, and his elbow slid off the gum machine.
“Good evening,” Side Pocket said in his best ain’t-I-fine voice. But the painter lady was moving from the milk crate to the step stool to the ladder, moving up and down fast, scribbling all over the wall like a crazy person. We looked at Side Pocket. He looked at the twins. The twins looked at us. The painter lady was giving a show. It was like those old-timey music movies where the dancer taps on the tabletop and then starts jumping all over the furniture, kicking chairs over and not skipping a beat. She didn’t even look where she was stepping. And for a minute there, hanging on the ladder to reach a far spot, she looked like she was going to tip right over.
“Ahh,” Side Pocket cleared his throat and moved fast to catch the ladder.
“These young ladies here have brought you some supper.”
“Ma’am?” The twins stepped forward. Finally, the painter turned around, her eyes “full of sky,” as my grandmama would say. Then she stepped down like she was in a trance. She wiped her hands on her jeans as the Morris twins offered up the plate and the jug. She rolled back the tinfoil, then wagged her head as though something terrible was on the plate.
“Thank your mother very much,” she said, sounding like her mouth was full of sky too. “I’ve brought my own dinner along.” And then, without even excusing herself, she went back up the ladder, drawing on the wall in a wild way. Side Pocket whistled one of those oh-brother breathy whistles and went back into the pool hall. The Morris twins shifted their weight from one foot to the other, then crossed the street and went home. Lou had to drag me away, I was so mad. We couldn’t wait to get to the firehouse to tell my daddy all about this rude woman who’d stolen our wall.
All the way back to the block to help my mama out at the restaurant, me and Lou kept asking my daddy for ways to run the painter lady out of town. But my dad was busy talking about the trip to the country and telling Lou he could come too because Grandmama can always use an extra pair of hands on the farm.
Later that night, while me and Lou were in the back doing our chores, we found out that the painter lady was a liar. She came into the restaurant and leaned against the glass of the steam table, talking about how starved she was. I was scrubbing pots and Lou was chopping onions, but we could hear her through the service window. She was asking Mama was that a ham hock in the greens, and was a neck bone in the pole beans, and were there any vegetables cooked without meat, especially pork.
“I don’t care who your spiritual leader is,” Mama said in that way of hers. “If you eat in the community, sixth, you gonna eat pig by-and-by, one way or t’other.”
Me and Lou were cracking up in the kitchen, and several customers at the counter were clearing their throats, waiting for Mama to really fix her wagon for not speaking to the elders when she came in. The painter lady took a stool at the counter and went right on with her questions. Was there cheese in the baked macaroni, she wanted to know? Were there eggs in the salad? Was it honey or sugar in the iced tea? Mama was fixing Pop Johnson’s plate. And every time the painter lady asked a fool question, Mama would dump another spoonful of rice on the pile. She was tapping her foot and heating up in a dangerous way. But Pop Johnson was happy as he could be. I and Lou peeked through the service window, wondering what planet the painter lady came from. Whoever heard of baked macaroni without cheese or potato salad without eggs?
“Do you have any bread made with unbleached flour?” the painter lady asked Mama. There was a long pause, as though everybody in the restaurant was holding their breath, wondering if Mama would dump the next spoonful on the painter lady’s head. She didn’t. But when she set Pop Johnson’s plate down, it came down with a bang.
When Mama finally took her order, the starving lady all of a sudden couldn’t make up her mind whether she wanted a vegetable plate or fish and a salad. She finally settled on the broiled trout and a tossed salad. But just when Mama reached for a plate to serve her, the painter lady leaned over the counter with her finger all up in the air.
“Excuse me,” she said. “One more thing.” Mama was holding the plate like a Frisbee, tapping that foot, one hand on her hip. “Can I get raw beets in that tossed salad?”
“You will get,” Mama said, leaning her face close to the painter lady’s, “whatever Lou back there tossed. Now sit down.” And the painter lady sat back down on her stool and shut right up.
All the way to the country, me and Lou tried to get Mama to open fire on the painter lady. But Mama said that seeing as how she was from the North, you couldn’t expect her to have any manners. Then Mama said she was sorry she’d been so impatient with the woman because she seemed like a decent person and was simply trying to stick to a very strict diet. Me and Lou didn’t want to hear that. Who did that lady think she was, coming into our neighborhood and taking over our wall?
“Wellllll,” Mama drawled, pulling into the filling station so Daddy could take the wheel, “it’s hard on an artist, ya know. They can’t always get people to look at their work. So she’s just doing her work in the open, that’s all.” Me and Lou definitely did not want to hear that. Why couldn’t she set up an easel downtown or draw on the sidewalk in her own neighborhood? Mama told us to quit fussing so much; she was tired and wanted to rest. She climbed into the back seat and dropped down into the warm hollow Daddy had made in the pillow.
All weekend long, me and Lou tried to scheme up ways to recapture our wall. Daddy and Mama said they were sick of hearing about it. Grandmama turned up the TV to drown us out. On the late news was a story about the New York subways. When a train came roaring into the station all covered from top to bottom, windows too, with writings and drawings done with spray paint, me and Lou slapped five. Mama said it was too bad kids in New York had nothing better to do than spray paint all over the trains. Daddy said that in the cities, even grown-ups wrote all over the trains and buildings too. Daddy called it “graffiti.” Grandmama called it a shame.
We couldn’t wait to get out of school on Monday. We couldn’t find any black spray paint anywhere. But in a junky hardware store downtown we found a can of white epoxy10 paint, the kind you touch up old refrigerators with when they get splotchy and peely. We spent our whole allowance on it. And because it was too late to use our bus passes, we had to walk all the way home lugging our book satchels and gym shoes, and the bag with the epoxy.
When we reached the corner of Taliaferro and Fifth, it looked like a block party or something. Half the neighborhood was gathered on the sidewalk in front of the wall. I looked at Lou, he looked at me. We both looked at the bag with the epoxy and wondered how we were going to work our scheme. The lady’… [CONTINUE READING FROM MAIN SITE ITSELF]
Let us now discuss CommonLit The War Of The Wall answers to the questions asked:
Q1. Which statement expresses the theme of the story?
Ans: Adults have a hard time understanding what kids find important.
Q2. How does the author establish the painter lady as an outsider?
Ans: The author emphasizes that the painter lady is from out of town and acts differently than people in the community.
Q3. What is the narrator’s reaction to Mama’s perspective on the painter lady?
Ans: The narrator understands why the painter lady is painting their wall.
Q4. What causes the conflict between the narrator and the painter lady?
Ans: her desire to paint the wall that the neighborhood kids like to use
Q5. How does seeing the inscription on the wall affect the narrator?
Ans: The narrator realizes that they and the painter share a mutual dislike of Jimmy Lyons.
Q6. How does seeing the painter lady’s mural affect the narrator?
Ans: The narrator argues with Lou about what they see on the wall.
Q7. How is the conflict in the story resolved?
Ans: The mural is finished and revealed.
Q8. How do the kids’ feelings about the painter lady using their wall change throughout the passage?
Ans: The War of the Wall by Toni Cade Bambara tells the story of a pair of boys who feel deeply offended by a woman who dares to paint graffiti on their wall as they felt it was the property of the boys in the block, and how they went from planning how to destroy it to finally see it in detail and discover that it, in fact, tell the story of the neighborhood and honors the ones that are no longer there.
Hope you got correct The War Of The Walls CommonLit Answer Key which is shared above.