When the Legends Die
Study Questions and Essay Topics
What factors make Tom's search for his own identity particularly difficult and complex? What circumstances finally guide him toward a conclusion?
Why does Tom resent authority figures so much? What harm does he feel they will do them?
What provides Tom with a sense of home and belonging as a young boy? How does this sense of home change throughout the novel?
Suggested Essay Topics
What role does Blue Elk's character play in the novel? What similarities does he have with Tom given their shared Ute background? What symbolic significance does Blue Elk's character have?
How do Tom's parents continue to shape his beliefs and behaviors, even after their deaths? In what context or what form do they appear in later parts of the novel?
What is the significance of the appearance of the All-Mother? How does this appearance mark the climax of the novel, and how does it permanently change Tom?
What sort of social commentary does Borland make in When the Legends Die? What message does he attempt to convey to his readers about the state of Native Americans in the United States at the time of the novel's setting?
Explain the symbolic significance of colors in When the Legends Die. What do the individual colors represent?
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