The Guilty Party CommonLit Answer Key

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The Guilty Party refers to a short story written by William Sydney Porter, an American writer who was more known as O. Henry. This one was published in 1909. The short story follows a girl named Liz who is engaged to be married. Her story is really tragic.

The short story called The Guilty Party by William Sydney Porter or O. Henry is available to read at CommonLit. After reading the story, you will be able to find a set of questions located at the right side of the page. Feel free to try to answer everything to test your brain and memory. If you have a hard time while trying to answer the questions or if you have answered everything and want to check if the answers are correct, you can check the answers key of The Guilty Party CommonLit below:

The Guilty Party CommonLit

  1. Part A: Which statement best describes the Kid’s influence on Lizzie?
    Answer: The Kid is an abusive fiancé who has forced Lizzie into a life of alcoholism and crime.
  2. Part B: Which detail from the text best supports the answer to Part A?
    Answer: “The first drink he made me take I cried all night at home…” (paragraph 34)
  3. Part A: Which statement best describes how Liz is characterized in paragraphs 24-25?
    Answer: Liz is not wealthy, but does her best to present herself nicely.
  4. Part B: Which two details from the text best support the answer to Part A?
    Answer: “Well-fitting and not without style” (paragraph 24)
  5. How does the author’s description of Liz “Fate in a green silk skirt” impact the meaning of paragraph 40?
    Answer: It describes the event as one that was bound to happen.
  6. Part A: How does the characterization of “good mother east river” contribute to the tone of paragraph 45?
    Answer: It characterizes Liz’s death as an escape from a life of pain and sorrow.
  7. Part B: Which detail from the text best supports the answer to Part A?
    Answer: “muddily but quickly…” (paragraph 45)
  8. How does the author’s repetition of “the red-haired, unshaven, untidy man” contribute to the story’s central ideas?
    Answer: 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.
  9. Who is “the guilty party” at the end of the text, and how do his actions contribute to the story’s theme?
    Answer: 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.
  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?
    Answer: 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 elaborate 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.
  11. 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?
    Answer: The short story “The Guilty Party” by O. Henry shows the description of the father as a “red-haired, unshaven, untidy man”. And not only is this phrase mentioned once, but the writer also kept on repeating it again and again whenever referring to him. This repetition may have been symbolic or meant to emphasize the irresponsible nature of the father who never has time for his daughter Lizzie. She had to plead with him every time she wants to play with him but never succeeds. By the continuous repetition of the phrase, the author may be laying the focus of the story on Lizzie’s father. It is also symbolic of the responsibilities of the parents in their children’s lives. There is also some hint of putting the blame on him for the fate of Lizzie, who we know had a bad life in the end.
  12. 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.
    Answer: “The Primal instinct for self-preservation” is the term that refers to our impulse to protect ourselves from situations that put us at risk. This risk may not be a physical risk, but an emotional risk such as feeling discomfort, shame, and nervousness. This self-preservation prevents us from exercising some actions and this impediment is often beneficial, but there are several situations where this impediment is disadvantageous because it prevents us from doing good things for us, such as making new friends, introducing ourselves, starting an activity that we always wanted, experiment, among others.

Those are the examples of the answers that you can use to answer these questions. Keep in mind that it does not have to be as exact as the ones written above. If you have a hard time, it might be a good idea for you to reread the story to come out with the best answer.

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