Leader Questions
Link to Summary Response
Other Interesting Info. to Share with Group
Monday, 5/4
Ch. 1-3
What did she see realized had happened to Turtle that made her so upset?

How has Kingsolver's life influenced her writing?

How are the characters' lives (especially Taylor's) similar to Kingsolver's own life?

What is the significance of Mattie's garden mixed with auto parts behind Jesus is Lord Used Tires?

Who were the men in the bar? What did they have to do with the woman's decision to give her baby to an absolute stranger?

Why is Jesus is Lord Used Tires next to a pornography store/ night club? What does this say about the authors view of religion?

Why does Mrs. Ruiz constantly look at her past, and try to prove to her mother that it was a good decision to marry Angel? Does this show that she had her own doubts about their relationship before he left her?

What happened between her and Angel that they could go from that in love to him leaving her?

What is the significance of him leaving her on Halloween?

How is Taylor's struggle similar to that of other main characters we've read about this year?

Ackerman's comments for Becky:
Taylor's life echoes that of the author, Kingsolver's life.

Both live in Tucson, were raised in Kentucky, have lived in poverty, and felt the need to escape.

Taylor seems to be on a kind of right of passage or journey to discover herself and how she fits in the world.
Wednesday, 5/6
Katherine and Anna
Ch. 4-6
Why does Lou Ann feel comfortable telling Bobby Bingo, a total stranger, that Angel left her but she can't tell her mother?

What does this quote mean?: "...And it struck her that his presence was different from the feeling of women filling up the house. He could be there or not, and it hardly made any difference," (Kingsolver 63).

What do you think Kingsolver's view on men and marriage is, based on Lou Ann's marriage, the people back in Kentucky, Taylor's fear that she wand Lu Ann were acting like a married couple, etc.?

What was the significance of Grandmother Logan's and Ivy's visit?

What is the significance of the "first killing frost of the winter" coming on Valentines Day?

Why did Lou Ann have to prove to her mother so much that her marrige was a success?

What is it saying about marrige when Lou Ann's mother said that she lived with her mother-in-law in order to not be by herself when she had her husband to be with?

Why doesn't Lou Ann want her mother and grandmother to leave even though they annoy her?

What are the similarities and differences between Lou Ann and Taylor?

Ackerman's comments for Katherine:

Ackerman's comments for Anna:
-Kingsolver believes that women are fighting for their lives, and men are looking for some peace of mind.... The men's movement and the women's movement aren't salt and pepper; they are hangnail and hand grenade” (“His-and-hers politics” 70).

-Barbra Kingsolver describes herself as a political writer.

Women can follow the masculine archetype while still being women.

Writes her stories based off of true life experiences.
Friday, 5/8
Serena, Selena
What does Taylor's mother marrying mean?

Why does Edna wear all red, and what does it symbolize?

Why did Esperanza try to kill herself?

Why did Turtle freeze up in the Doctor's office?

What does the trellis in Dog Doo park represent?

Why are Turtle's first words vegetables?

Why is Lou Ann's self esteem so horrible? What does it signify?

What is the significance of the relation between fear and motherhood? "Fear that the things you imagine will turn real" (Kingsolver 102)

How does Taylor's perspective of marriage change in these 3 chapters?

What is the significance of Turtles past abuse?

Why do Taylor and Estevan feel so connected to each other?
Book Group summary response 7-9.doc

Ackerman's comments for Serena:

Ackerman's comments for Selena
Turtle's real name is April

Taylor's mother is getting married again

The Cherokee in Taylor gives her the desire to travel as well as her desire for female relationships.

Turtle's past abuse stunted her growth and development.
Monday, 5/11
Why do you think that Taylor is more optimistic than Lou Ann? And why Lou Ann is more pessimistic than Taylor?

Why do you think that Taylor calls it a miracle that the flower trees were turning into bean trees (pg.144)? What could it symbolize?

Why do you think it took so long to discover that Edna Poppy was blind? What could this represent?

What’s your opinion of Taylor talking to Esperanza about Ismene?

How has Lou Ann changed since the beginning of the book?

How has the relationship between Lou Ann and Taylor changed/developed?

What could the light represent when in Spanish you say “you give the baby to the light?” (It represents how to say you have a baby)

Do you think Lou Ann’s dream is paranoia or could she actually be right?

Why do you think Turtle copes by not talking?

Do you think that Taylor reacted well by working more and being less with Turtle after the park incident?

What do you think the cereus blooming means? What could it symbolize?

What’s your opinion of Mattie’s help with transporting illegal immigrants? Is it right or wrong?

How is Taylor a Heroine?

What does the dead blackbird symbolize?

Marxist Criticism:

Ackerman's comments for Sydney:
Taylor discovers that Edna is actually blind.

Esperanza survives her suicide attempt.

Lou Ann gets a job at Red Hot Mama's Salsa factory-- which is pretty much like a sweat shop, but Lou Ann loves working there.

Lou Ann talks about how she is messed up-- and had a "dream angel" visit her.

Estevan and Esperanza have to move to a different location because they might get deported-- unless they have hard core proof that they left Guatemala to run for their lives, which they don't have.

Mattie takes Taylor, Esperanza and Estevan to see the Native Americans celebrated New Year's Day when the first rain comes.

Turtle gets hurt at the park while with Edna-- Taylor believes she is at fault and works more.

Cynthia, the social worker, discovers that Taylor is not really Turtle's mother-- she ends up being on Taylor's side and gives her some advice how to find a legal way so Taylor can have custody over Turtle.

The cereus, which blooms just once a year, and only at night, burst into blossoms.

Taylor risks her safety by transporting Estevan, Esperanza, and Turtle to Oklahoma.

On the road, Taylor passes a dead blackbird and thinks to brake-- but she realizes that stopping for a dead bird does not do any good.
Wednesday, 5/13
Other Symbolism
Why does Turtle start calling Esperanza "Ma"?

How are Esperanza/Estevan and Taylor linked through the refugee idea of the St. Christopher medallion?

Why do you think Taylor is a little bit hurt when Esperanza and Turtle keep acting like mother and daughter when Taylor never established herself as Turtle's mother?

What do you think Taylor's realization about the Cherokee Nation symbolizes?

What is the importance of Turtle reenacting the burial of her mother with the doll?

Why do you think Taylor suddenly wanted to take custody of Turtle?

Why is Esperanza happy about giving up Turtle?

Why is Taylor so upset to see Estevan go?

What does Taylor mean with "All four of us buried someone we loved in Oklahoma"?

Why do you think the 1-800-LORD number was a "fountain of faith" for Taylor?

What could the contrast between the sham LORD number and the calls back to the people Taylor loves mean?

What does Turtle's "vegetable soup" song represent, and what does it mean?

What are your thoughts about the end of the book?
Symbolism Response:

Ackerman's comments for Tasha:
Taylor, Estevan, Esperanza, and Turtle pass through a New Mexico immigration check, saying that Turtle's parents were Esperanza and Estevan.

Esperanza and Turtle connect like mother and daughter.

They all decide to go to the Lake o' the Cherokees "for a vacation".

In the Cherokee Nation, Taylor feels like the odd one out for once, and Estevan and Esperanza feel relaxed in a place where everyone looks like them.

Estevan and Taylor go for a boat ride.

Turtle buries her doll to orchestrate her real mother's burial.

Esperanza and Estevan help Taylor take legal custody of Turtle.

Esperanza seems happy to let go of Turtle.

Taylor drops Estevan and Esperanza off at a church with promised safety.

Taylor calls 1-800-LORD only to find out its a pledge line.

Taylor calls Lou Ann, who is now dating someone else.

Turtle sings her vegetable song on the way home.