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A Discussion Guide


The Ballad of Lucy Whipple

General themes: Adapting, Self-discovery

Questions for Discussion

• What do you think of Lucy's mother's decision to move the family to California? Do you agree or disagree with Lucy's reaction? Why?

• How does the author portray the rough-and-tumble atmosphere of 1880s California? Why do you think she included Butte's death?

• What do Lucy's letters tell you about her? Why do you think she sometimes expresses different feelings in her letters from those in her narrative?

• How does Lucy react to instances of prejudice and injustice?

• How do the adults in the story sometimes act like children? How do the children in the story sometimes take on adult roles?

• Compare and contrast Lucy's feelings about California at the beginning of the story and at the end. Why do her feelings change?





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