Page 6. " her poor featherless feet "

This passage refers to the Greek god Hermes, the messenger god.  His winged sandals enabled him to fly in his role as the gods’ messenger. But he could also fly "away from the disaster [he] knows is coming", or fly to fight it if need be. 

Page 7. " That one time and no other the okapi came to the stream "

The okapi is a mammal native to the Ituri rainforest of the African Congo.  It resembles a cross between a zebra and a giraffe (but with a much shorter neck and height).   For centuries, few Westerners had seen the okapi, so it was considered a near-mythic creature to Europeans until 1901, when a carcass was sent to and displayed in London.  

Page 13. " They won't have Betty Crocker cake in the Congo "

Betty Crocker is a brand name created in the 1920s and belonging to General Mills.  Originally, "she" was a fictional character created as the perfect American homemaker, responsible for cooking items and recipes.  The brand later became famous for its prepared dessert mixes.  "In 1945, Fortune magazine named Betty Crocker the second most popular American woman; Eleanor Roosevelt was named first" (from wikipedia entry).

Page 13. " We came from Bethlehem, Georgia. "

Bethlehem was the city where Jesus was born.

Jesus and the Price family had similar missions when they left their respective Bethlehems: to spread their "truth" to the world.


Google Map


Page 16. " What if we went on Art Linkletter's House Party Now? "

Art Linkletter's House Party was a daytime TV show that dealt with just about everything. It would be similar to The Oprah Winfrey Show or others of the sort. Rachel alludes to this show because there is a segment in which the host likes to take women’s purses and reveal their contents. This is comical because the Price girls are carrying everything they can in their clothing.


Page 20. " The man in the church said they're different from us and needs ought to keep their own. Jimmy Crow says that, and he makes the laws. "

Jim Crow era sign
Public DomainJim Crow era sign - Credit: Library of Congress
Ruth May is referring to Jim Crow Laws, which enshrined racial discrimination in the South during this period.  These nineteenth century laws governed every aspect of African American existence (separate water fountains, schools, bathrooms etc). They weren't abolished until the mid-1960s.