Discussion will take place in the Flex Room.

Erin Perry
Sophia Chille
Teagan Snyder
Sabrina Flanders
Julianne Salmon
Rylie O'Keefe
Bridget Estabrook
Melanie Decker

1. Student Facilitator(s): This person's role will be to read the agenda from his or her computer to direct the conversation. Someone should volunteer or nominate a peer(s). Communicate with each other! Please list all the group members on your wiki page as well.
Sabrina Flanders & Teagan Snyder

2. Protocols:

Ten Words or Less

This can be done as individuals or in pairs.

  • On your own or with one partner, summarize the book in ten words or less. Give everyone three minutes.
  • Share the summaries: the writer reads the summary and another participant asks a question or makes a comment in response to that summary. The writer responds and talk can open from there. Move to the next summary.
  • Commit to each summary earning one comment or question from another participant.

Passage Path

Try this if you’ve talked with your books closed for a while. It is helpful to use the language of the book as a way to open a discussion.

  • Everyone should refresh their memory of passages they've marked as important in the text.
  • One person starts by bringing the group to a passage that felt significant. He or she briefly explains why the passage feels important.
  • The rest of the group should be thinking about other passages that compares or contrasts (for any reason) to the original. When a participant feels she has one, direct the rest of the group members to the page number and read the passage aloud. The participant explains the connection to the first passage; others can contribute.
  • Repeat #2 until as many passages have been brought up as there are participants in the group, or for a small group, go around twice. Feel free to make connections to passages discussed earlier.
  • Be aware not to but undue pressure on individuals with this protocol, but work together to find and explain the connections between the passages.

Whip questions for beginning of the discussion:
How did you like the book?
Who was your favorite character?
What do you think about Nathan?
Who would you recommend this book to?
Which character do you relate the most to?

Whip questions for beginning of the discussion:
  • How did you like the book?
  • How did you respond to a certain character?
  • What did you care most about in the book?
  • Describe your level of understanding.
Whip questions for the middle of the discussion:
  • How did you respond to a plot event?
  • What passage(s) made an impact on you?
  • What points already said do you agree or disagree with?
Whip questions for the end of the discussion:
  • What comment made today most affected your thinking?
  • What have you learned most about the book/the issues raised by the book today?
  • What questions still linger for you?

3. Discussion Questions:

Collaboratively create 15-25 open-ended questions that promote discussion and organize them logically.

-For being an arranged marriage, were you surprised by Rukmani and Nathan's good relationship?
-Because Rukmani and Nathan seem to have such a good relationship, were you surprised about what Kunthi revealed about her and Nathan?
-Putting yourself in Ira's shoes, would you have done the same thing to feed your loved one?
-Would you consider water as symbolism that occurs at the same time as big events?
-Was it surprising to you that Rukmani went behind Nathan's back just to give him a son?
-What would have been different about the book if Rukmani had been telling the story as it happened?
-If you were Nathan would you have done anything differently?
-Were you surprised that Puli remembered Rukmani and Nathan?
-If you were in Granny's place, would you feel guilty that Ira's marriage didn't work out?
-Would you have returned to the home that you grew up in with your husband and kids, or continue to live where you were, knowing you could make money?
-Was Nathan a good husband/dad?
-Was Rukmani a good wife/mom?
-What was the tannery and it's significance?
-What was your reaction when Nathan died?
-What lessons were learned after reading this book?
-What were some symbols/motifs that you noticed while reading?

4. Culture & Context:

Post a resource for someone else's question. Label your questions and posts so we can see that everyone contributed to both steps.

Teagan: What are the marriage laws in India?
Child Marriage is formal marriage or union before 18 years of age. Child marriage as a forced marriage before 18 years of age because they believe children under age 18 are incapable of giving their consent. Child marriage is very hectic situation for child and they face each and every problem in that age.

Teagan: Do people in India still hope to be "blessed" with a son as their first born?
In a nut shell, the study found that desire for sons in India often compel women to have more children than they otherwise might.(a bit of information about sons and birth rates)

Sophia: What is modern India like?
India has been invaded several times and this has brought in a many different cultures and religious views.
Hinduism, Buddhim, Jainism and Sikhism are the three major relions in India today.

Sophia: Was there an industrial revolution in India? If so, when?
Around 1949 there was an industrial revolution in India. It was mainly focused on gaining independence, economy, wealth, trade, production etc.

Julianne: What is the significance of a 'sari' and are women required to wear one?
A sari is worn by women in india for comfort.

Julianne: Were there any wars in India that would conflict with this story?
It is very hard to find anything on any wars that would conflict with the story. Most wars that come up relate to American Indians. Also, because war isn't talked about at all in the book it makes it seem as though there wasn't a war going on at the time, and if so they didn't know about it or it wasn't big enough to mention.

Sabrina: What is Dhal?
Dhal is a:"preparation of pulses (dried lentils, peas or beans) which have been stripped of their outer hulls and split. It also refers to the thick stew prepared from these pulses, an important part of Indian cuisine"

Bridget: Is it acceptable to prostitute in India in order to make money to buy food?
Prostitution in India is Legal, but "soliciting in a public place, kerb crawling, owning or managing a brothel, pimping and pandering are crimes".

Erin: What is the Indian government like today and how has it changed from when the book was written in 1954.
5. Pre-Discussion Processing
  • Rukmani: Nathan's wife. Mother of Ira and five sons. Narrator of the book.
  • Nathan: Husband of Rukmani. Who works in the fields and fixes the house.
  • Kenny: White doctor who helps people in the village. Helped Rukmani and Ira get pregnant. Speculated to have a relationship with Rukmani. Raises money to build a hospital in the village.
  • Kunthi: Neighbor of Rukmani and Nathan. Had an affair with Nathan in his younger years. Attempts to ruin Rukmani by spreading rumor of affair with Kenny. Known as "town sleaze". Prostitute. Uses good looks to seduce.
  • Old Granny: Rukmani sells her vegetables. Arranges Ira's marriage. When Ira's marriage fails she doesn't forgive herself.
  • Arjun: First born son of Nathan and Rukmani. Goes to work in factory. Factory changes him.
  • Puli: Help Nathan and Rukmani later in life when they go to look for Murugan. They end up "adopting" him even though they're not allowed to. Selvam and Ira promise to take care of him.
  • Ira: she is the daughter who marries a man who ends up leaving her because she is unable to have children. Would do anything for her family. Becomes a prostitute to help feed her family, mostly Kuti.
    Kali: Neighbor which taught Rukmani the chores and "ropes" of how to be a farmers wife

Setting: Unknown village in southern India. Places circa early twentieth century. Compared to industrial revolution in America.

Important plot events:
  • one important plot event is when there was the drought and there crops were gone and they had barely any food.
  • Conflicts - Identify and elaborate on the conflicts that drive the plot
  • Narration (point of view) - Describe how the telling impacts the story
  • Important passages - Have at least 5 important passages on the wiki; a brief comment or question about how and why the passage is important should follow each
"No, I thought desolately, but I could not say it. Could not. I closed my eyes and felt his hands on my temples where the pulses beat, gently stroking, soothing me in the only way he could. He suffered for me, not so much for himself, and I likewise, so that although together there was more strength there was also more suffering, and if each had been alone the way might not have seemed so hard; yet I knew neither could have borne it alone. Thus confused, my mind turned this way and that, like a paper kite dipping to every current of air, unsure of its own meanings. (134)"
- This is when Rukmani and Nathan decide to leave their children behind and take on their on journey after being forced to leave. In this passage, you can really feel their strong relationship as a family.

" "Not strange," Nathan said. "I am the father of her sons. She would have told you, and I was weak."

Disbelief first; disillusionment; anger, reproach, pain. To find out, after so many years, in such a cruel way. Kali's words: "She has fire in her body, men burn before and after." My husband was one of those men. He had known her not once but twice; he had gone back to give her a second son. And between, how many times, I thought, bleak of spirit, while her husband in his importance and I in my innocence did nothing. "It was a long time ago," Nathan said. "I was very young and she was a skillful woman." (85) "

-This is when Nathan tells Rukmani that he slept with Kali and gave her two sons.

-Rukmani and Nathan want to return home but don't have any money. They have to resort to working at the quarry with Puli. Even though Nathan is sick, he still works alongside his wife. This is a conflict and a hard decision for the two to make because they have to choose between starving, working, money, and getting back to their home.

-Keeping the House

-Not enough Food

-Not being able to have children (especially sons)

-Too much rain ruining the crops.

-Children having to go out and work tanneries.

-Nathan being unfaithful.