Study Questions & Essay Topics
Discuss why, after all the battlefield carnage that Inman has witnessed, Inman seems to endorse violence on his journey home.
Tales and memories feature prominently in the novel as characters frequently call to mind their past lives. Discuss why what has previously occurred plays such an important role in shaping the novel’s plot structure and development.
Most of the novel’s most dramatic moments turn on the theme of freedom and capture. People are trapped, hunted, and attacked like animals. Discuss what kind of comparison the author is drawing between death in nature and killing in the human world.
Suggested Essay Topics
1. What parallels, if any, does Frazier draw between Ruby and Stobrod’s, and Ada and Monroe’s relationships? Why are father-daughter relationships so important in the novel?
2. Inman’s experiences at Junior’s house are among the novel’s most mysterious and unsettling. Why does Frazier present such a savage picture of mountain-dwellers? Doesn’t this view of mountain folk seem to support the judgmental views of Charleston society about those who live close to the land?
3. Despite his distasteful moral code, Solomon Veasey’s animation and humorousness make him a particularly human character with whom it is hard not to identify. Why does the author present the preacher in this way, and how does this presentation affect the novel’s moral tone?
Readers' Notes allow users to add their own analysis and insights to our SparkNotes—and to discuss those ideas with one another. Have a novel take or think we left something out? Add a Readers' Note!