STUDY GUIDE

 

 

--What is your first impression of the Narrator?

--Is Agata mean or mad or both? Explain.

--Discuss the relationship between the girl and the carter; the girl and her godmother; the girl and the Duchinu.

--When the girl is with the shepherd boy, the Narrator recounts her experience in Church. Why didn't the girl think it was wrong to eat the communion hosts? Discuss the significance of "hungriest on earth."

--Early on, what do we make of Agata's seemingly high regard for one daughter and not the other?

--How does the carter convince the girl to heal the Duchinu's cousin? And is he the one who is really doing the convincing?

--Why does the girl wear Agata's blue marriage dress to the party? Why does she reject the other dresses?

--According to Agata's way of thinking and rationalizing, why must there be vengeance for the Duke of Bronte?

--The Duchinu wears a patch over his eye. The shepherd boy presses the tail of his stocking cap against his cheek. Can you see more subtle similarities between them as well as similarities between the carter and the surgeon?

--When we first meet the Duchinu and the surgeon, the Duchinu tears off the corners of his charts. How does that simple gesture reveal his true feelings for the surgeon? What is your impression of that relationship?

--The Duchinu must have someone brought to the Castle to heal his cousin. Why do both the Narrator and the carter  believe Vincenza will not go to the Castle?

--The Duchinu places a great emphasis on the peasants kissing his hand. Discuss the times hands have been kissed in this novel and their significance.

--Does the surgeon really know that it was Alfiu who planted the pistachio trees seventeen years before?

--When the surgeon says no man will ever accept another man's child, how did that one line affect the course of the story?

--Do you absolutely despise the cousin? Or does she have some redeeming qualities?

--The pistachio trees grow where nothing ought to thrive. This is also a symbol for the girl. Why?

--How does the girl change during the course of the novel? The carter? The cousin? The Duchinu? The Narrator? The shepherd boy?

--What is the significance of a name? Of a path in life?

--And lots more questions and discussions...