In the first four chapters of “Coldest Winter Ever”, we see the emerging character of Winter Santiaga, a twelve year old who is growing up fast, too fast, it seems. Untied to moral standards or values, Winter is about fashion, sex and power. By age 12, she and her crew have developed some very promiscuous habits. Leader of her posse, Winter was revered for her choice of fashion, her toughness and for who her daddy is – Ricky Santiaga, drug czar of their Brooklyn hood. The name and presence of Santiaga or his goons invokes a trail of fear. Young boys or older men dare not speak ill of either Winter or her family! Dressed to the nines, shopping and sex are her main focus. Life is about to drastically change for Winter….
There are six discussion questions. Please take time before you answer and remember, this is a discussion. Answer all six questions or choose two. Use examples from the story to emboss your viewpoint. Please use complete sentences and use spell check for certainty.
1) Discuss your first impression when you read about Sister Souljah’s main character, Winter Santiaga? Do you find her lifestyle enviable? If so, why?
2) What do you find disturbing about Winter’s relationship with her parents? What type of woman were they molding her to become? Use examples from the first three or four chapters to support your answer.
3) The character, Midnight, seems to be much different from the other young men that are around Winter’s crew. What sets him apart from the others? Does the fact that he may have some character give you a different view of drug dealers? If so, how?
4) What do you think about the gifts Rickie Santiaga gives his daughter? How do the types of gifts she receives contribute to her behavior in her world?
5) Not only are the younger characters in the story stuck on the value of possessions, but the parents and adults are as well. What is the message the youth are receiving about the importance of education? If you have or had a friend like Winter, how would you talk with her about her choices to abandon her education?
6) Winter Santiaga and her crew engage in sex freely and pregnancies run rampant in her community. Discuss your feelings about their sexuality and how self-respect and feelings of worth tie into their behavior. In other words, how do you feel their behavior speaks to their feelings of self-respect and self-worth?
* Words that may need defining are italicized. Go to http://www.dictionary.com for easy reference.
**Our next meeting is Wednesday, March 9th, after school! See you there! ;-D