CommonLit THE GUILTY PARTY Answers 2024 [Free Access]

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CommonLit THE GUILTY PARTY Answers

Find the answer key for the topic “THE GUILTY PARTY” below:

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CommonLit THE GUILTY PARTY Answers key

Discussion Questions & Answers

Following are our answers based on the questions provided:

Q.1. Who is the “guilty party”? Is it Liz? Or, is it the “red-haired, unshaven, untidy man” (her father)? Or is it someone else? How can you decide?
Ans: The “guilty party” in our findings is Liz. After Liz jumps off the pier and kills herself, she goes to this afterlife-type world. Here she meets this “Mr. Fly-Cop” who can be perceived as a God in heaven, and he explains that because of her actions (murder) led to the extreme of taking her own life so she wouldn’t have to live with that guilt. It clearly states in the text that, “The girl murdered her fiancé and committed suicide” (52). Although there are two sides to this argument, in the end, Liz wouldn’t have committed suicide if it wasn’t for the people, even her fiancée that she surrounded her environment. It was her decision to keep hanging out and being friends with the negative and wrong people.

Q.2. Consider this line: “And next came the primal instinct of self-preservation—or was it self-annihilation, the instinct that society has grafted on the natural branch?” How do you think “the primal instinct of self-preservation” affects people’s actions? Explain your answer.
Ans: The natural beauty of “self-preservation” (41) can impact people’s actions in a magnitude of ways. This instinct is something everyone is born with, but for some, it is more powerful than others. As stated in the story, a woman named Liz is really going through the toughest moments of her life which then lead to her death. After being so fed up with society she decides to end it all. This could have been prevented if that little “switch” inside of her brain flicked on to “self-preservation” mode activated. This instinct makes people second guess their decision to do harm to their self ultimately in most cases stopping events from escalating. This behavior ensures the survival of organisms which was obviously lacking for Liz herself.

Q.3. What makes people do bad things? Use evidence from this short story, your own experience, and from other works of art or literature to answer this question.
Ans: People do bad things because no one is perfect. There comes to a point in one’s life where things can become too rough, or tough and one may not think it’s worth living through or for. Just like Liz, this can lead to one bad thing/ mistake to another and possibly result in suicide. As stated in the text Liz started going down the path of darkness when she ultimately “murdered her fiancée and committed suicide. She had no defense.” (52). People can also be forced (peer pressured) or surrounded by others who also make bad decisions that wear off on everyone else. In the article, Liz is surrounded by “children playing in the corridors of the House of Sin” (3). These sinful actions sooner or later rubbed off on her hence why she was somewhat “forced” to her death.


Text Dependent Questions & Answers

Following are our answers based on the questions provided:

Q.1. PART A: Which statement best describes the Kid’s influence on Lizzie?
Ans: The Kid is an abusive fiance who has forced Lizzie into a life of alcoholism and crime.

Q.2. PART B: Which detail from the text best supports the answer to Part A?
Ans: “The first drink he made me take I cried all night at home….”(paragraph 34)

Q.3. PART A: Which statement best describes how Liz is characterized in paragraphs 24-25?
Ans: Liz is not wealthy, but does her best to present herself nicely.

Q.4. PART B: Which TWO details from the text best support the answer to Part A?
Ans: “Well-fitting and not without style” (paragraph 24)

Q.5. How does the author’s description of Liz “Fate in a green silk skirt” impact the meaning of paragraph 40?
Ans: It describes the event as one that was bound to happen.

Q.6. PART A: How does the characterization of “good mother east river” contribute to the tone of paragraph 45?
Ans: It characterizes Liz’s death as an escape from a life of pain and sorrow.

Q.7. PART B: Which detail from the text best supports the answer to Part A?
Ans: “…muddily but quickly…”(paragraph 45)

Q.8. How does the author’s repetition of “the red-haired, unshaven, untidy man” contribute to the story’s central ideas?
Ans: It highlights the significance of Lizzie’s father’s lack of positive influence on her life, which ultimately leads to her crime and early death.

Q.9. Who is “the guilty party” at the end of the text, and how do his actions contribute to the story’s theme?
Ans: Her father is “the guilty party”. It can be seen in the story that her father wasn’t really able to provide her with the love & support that a father must give to his child. Thus, supporting the theme of the story which is ‘responsibility’ and ‘love’. The story shows how big of an impact it is to every child to receive the love & concern that they need in order for them to grow into a better person.

Q.10. In paragraph 46, the point of view changes from third-person to first-person narration. What is the purpose of this shift in point of view?
Ans: The purpose of the shift in POV is to better describe what the girl is going through alone. Instead of the narrator/author explaining the type of after-life experience Liz goes through, the context is directly coming from the main character. The story becomes more detailed and elaborates as she personally recounts her time in ” heaven “. As stated in the story, ” But, anyhow, there I was, and there was a great crowd of us outside the courtroom where the judgments were going on. And every now and then a very beautiful and imposing court officer angel would come outside the door and call another case ” ( 47 ). Anyone can tell that the story does take a shift and becomes more understandable since the descriptiveness is taken up a notch.


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In CommonLit, “The Guilty Party” is one of the students’ favorite short stories authored by O. Henry for grade 11 students.

Short stories like “The Guilty Party” allow us to delve into a world with enough depth and complexity, even though it’s just a few pages long.

From the writing style to the narrative voice and characters, the story has the ability to weave a whole universe with such finesse.


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