Explain Haven Peck's "mission" in life. Is it really just slaughtering pigs? What are the missions of some of the other characters in the book?

Do you think that Robert will follow in his father's footsteps and not only maintain the farm but slaughter pigs? Expounding the events in the sequel, A Part of the Sky, does not answer this question.

Why do you think that Robert runs away from his fight with Edward Thatcher in the beginning of the first chapter? Think of this in terms of the things from which Robert does not back down later in the story.

Why is Robert so desperate to go to the Rutland Fair? How does this relate to his Shaker beliefs? Why do you think his parents let him go?

Why do you think that the author chooses to include so many seemingly inconsequential episodes of death, e.g. the hawk, the squirrel, and the ferret?