The Education of Little Tree Questions for Essay and Discussion

The Education of Little Tree Questions for Essay and Discussion

  1. Define the following vocabulary words from the story. gallery, dogtrot, cache, uppity, covey, haunch, plaited, ingenious.
  2. Some critics believe that many chapters in this episodic novel tell separate stories with all five plot elements. Select any chapter in the story and identify the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution (denouement).
  3. Cite three incidents from the story that seems to be poking fun at politicians or at the government. What overall statement about government is Carter making in this novel?
  4. State three life lessons Little Tree learns when he goes fox hunting with Granpa.
  5. Why is it ironic that the woman in the car calls Granpa and Little Tree “foreigners”? In what way is Little Tree’s interview with the Reverend at the orphanage also an example of irony?
  6. Which incident from the story teaches Little Tree to listen to the “tone” of a conversation rather than just to the words a person says? Define the following words and phrases used by mountain folk: “I kin ye,” “law-dogs,” “bust up,” “laying-by,” “jumped teeth.”
  7. In what sense is the chapter, The Farm in the Clearing, an allegory?
  8. What does Little Tree learn about his heritage from the Trail of Tears?
  9. Discuss the importance of Little Tree’s secret place to help him develop his “spirit-mind.”
  10. Relate Granpa’s rules for planting and the significance of the different species of birds. Discuss whether or not this information is based on facts or on superstitions.
  11. Some critics believe the Indians in this story are stereotypical Indian types rather than accurate representatives of Cherokee Indians. Discuss the extent to which you agree with this opinion. Cite incidents from the story to support your answer.
  12. Cite three incidents from this story which seem to be “bigger than life” and are more like legends than true accounts.
  13. What does Little Tree learn from Mr. Wine? What might the color yellow represent in this story?
  14. Cite incidents from the story to prove that this is a “coming of age” story.
  15. In your opinion, should Granpa be permitted to teach Little Tree his trade? In what way does the chapter about the still help to illustrate Carter’s belief that the government fails to help people?
  16. What is the significance of the Dog Star, the candle, and the marriage stick in the story? What do you think the mountain might represent?
  17. People, as well as objects, can be symbols in a story. What do you think Willow John and Wilburn might represent in this novel?
  18. Define the Cherokee belief called “The Way.” Describe the Cherokee way of giving and receiving gifts.
  19. Discuss the ending of this story. How do you think Little Tree feels when Blue Boy dies? What is the Indian philosophy concerning death?
  20. Some critics believe that this story satirizes religion. Cite incidents from the story to support this idea.
  21. Why do critics today believe this story is not an autobiography? 22. Assume some of the Indian information in this story is flawed; in your opinion, what does The Education of Little Tree have to offer which makes it worthwhile to study?

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