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March 2016 - Fairy Tales > Beauty Discussion

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message 1: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Stockard Miller (michelleamiller) | 119 comments Mod
I could not find a discussion guide specifically for this book, but I did come across this set of general questions for any novel.

Remember...you don't have to answer every question. These questions are meant as a guide to facilitate discussion. :)

The following general questions can be applied to any novel, and they provide a good starting point for creating your own discussion questions for a given work.

1. What was unique about the setting of the book and how did it enhance or take away from the story?

2.What specific themes did the author emphasize throughout the novel? What do you think he or she is trying to get across to the reader?

3.Do the characters seem real and believable? Can you relate to their predicaments? To what extent do they remind you of yourself or someone you know?

4.How do characters change or evolve throughout the course of the story? What events trigger such changes?

5. In what ways do the events in the books reveal evidence of the author's world view?

6. Did certain parts of the book make you uncomfortable? If so, why did you feel that way? Did this lead to a new understanding or awareness of some aspect of your life you might not have thought about before?

7. Did you like the book? If you have read any of the author's other books, how does this compare?

8. What is this book's message?

9. How did you feel about the characters? Whom did you like or not like and why?

10. What did you think of the ending?

11. In a movie version, who would play what parts?

12. How did you feel when the character did or said....How do you think the character felt when she did or said...?

13. If questions...e.g. If the characters had done this instead, how would the story have changed?

14. What do book reviews say about this book or more generally the author, and her past works?

15. What did you think of the plot line development? How credible did the author make it?

16. What moral/ethical choices did the characters make? What did you think of those choices? How would you have chosen?

17. How authentic is the culture or era represented in the book?

18. Why do you think the author wrote this? What is her most important message?

19. How do you think the main character's point of view is similar or different from the author's point of view or background?

20. What is the author's background (her style, stature and focus)?

21. How does the setting figure as a character in the story?

22. Are the characters' actions the result of freedom of choice or of destiny?

23. Is there any moral responsibility that was abdicated?

24. Are there any symbols that may have cultural, political or religious reference? e.g. flag, tree, rose.

25. What type of vision does the author use with her word choice? Is it optimistic, pessimistic, prophetic, cautionary, humourous, satirical, venomous, cathartic?

26. What effects do the events (time, nationality, physicality) have on the character's self or personality?


message 2: by Plethora (new)

Plethora (bookworm_r) | 7 comments Thanks for posting these early, I have at least finished this selection already.


message 3: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Stockard Miller (michelleamiller) | 119 comments Mod
A Bookworm Reading (Plethora) wrote: "Thanks for posting these early, I have at least finished this selection already."

You're welcome! Trying to be on the ball...trying being the operative word. ;)


message 4: by Plethora (last edited Feb 26, 2016 09:27AM) (new)

Plethora (bookworm_r) | 7 comments I think we all understand the "trying" thing.

I've been trying to finish the other books for months now.


message 5: by Darlene (new)

Darlene I'm just listening to the audio of this. A good narrator makes the story even better.


message 6: by Amy (new)

Amy (willowdragon) | 3 comments I’ll admit I have read Beauty so many times before this retreat that I have lost count, mostly in my teen years. I LOVE this book, so much that I not only have a copy on Kindle, but I had to buy a second physical copy just to replace the torn, tattered, over read bookshelf copy I had that has been dropped in the bath and folded back so many times it literally fell apart at the seams. My favourite of all traditional tales is Beauty and The Beast, I am a fond advocate of love going deeper than looks, and I particularly like this version because of Beauty’s name being ironic (at least in her mind). I read every possible retelling of the tale, and this is in my top 3.

The majority of this book was based around Beauty’s life before Beast, and I found it engaging how we gained a good insight into her life in higher society as a merchant’s daughter followed by the impact of the family’s fall and the transition into a working countryside lifestyle. For me that made the story; we all know the tale of Beauty and the Beast, Beast’s background is a constant. But this book gives me a real sense of who Beauty is as a person and why she’s so right for Beast.

Beauty and her family were nicely rounded for me; in traditional tales Beauty’s sisters are spoilt and selfish in a 2dimensional way that makes Beauty herself stand out as different and special. What I love about this story is how normal the family are. They cope together as sisters; they grieve together and divide burdens as real, close sisters would. They share a mutual care for their father and feel his grief. For me the family were real. My one bug bear is that, although we get a sense of sadness in Beauty’s imprisonment, that she misses her family, we do not feel the loneliness as keenly as I believe McKinley has the ability to portray.

One of my few complaints about this book is that it seems to end very suddenly. The chain events that lead to the conclusion just feel like they roll way to fast, as though McKinley was just so damn excited to be at the climax of the book that she rushed and forgot to include all that detail she so lovingly weaved into the rest of the story. I would have liked to see a little more of Grace’s reunion with her lost lover, for the delay in Beauty’s return to feel a little more justified. It felt a bit too selfish for Beauty’s established character, her reasons for staying away from Beast just didn’t fit- it was clear to me that she was not the kind of person to break a promise, and her guilt at doing so would have far outweighed her “my family misses me” guilt trip; also, as a logical person, she would surely have concluded that proving she could keep her promise and return, Beast would perhaps let her visit her family again.

I attempted to read Sunshine by McKinley but couldn’t quite sink my teeth into it (ha! Get it? It’s a book about vampires so…sinking teeth…yeah ok you get it…) It’s possible that my mistake was trying to read this during my Twilight obsession phase, and it just couldn’t compare, so I shall give it another go. I am DETERMINED to read Spindles End however, I am sure that it is as amazing a retelling as Beauty.


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