Discussion Questions

Illustration by Sophia Martineck


  • When the villagers start their world over, they begin with storytelling. What importance does storytelling have for the novel? 
  • Story telling plays a huge part in the novel because it spreads news throughout the village, keeping people informed about what’s going on in the outside world. Lena is able to spread news from her experiences of traveling. The act of story telling also helps with people’s imagination and keeping faith in such a tough time.
  • One of the bonds that is the most transient in the novel is that between parent and child. How does the author depict this bond? Think about the situations in which children are transferred in the novel: do you think the parents were right to let their children be adopted by others? What do you think about the motivations of the adoptive parents?
  • Parents are motivated by their children’s safety. If the children are safer with another family, most parents tend to go the adoption route. Lena was left my her parents which effected her emotional connection to them, though it was for the best and made her want to be the best and most caring mother she could be for her own children.
  • What is the stranger’s role in the re-creation of the world? Do you think the villagers could have done it without her? Why do you think she decides to help protect the village from the outside world? 
  • If the stranger hadn’t washed up in the village, there would be no spectacle used for faith in such a situation where people have to adapt to new lifestyles. The villagers may have been able to do it without her, but she brings realism to the table and also is the one who sparks Lena to encourage the villagers to start from scratch. She helps protect the village from the outside world because she feels helpless towards her own past and doesn’t want to see things repeat itself.

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