Reading Group Guide
Discussion Questions for Deadly by Julie Chibbaro
1. How did the girl’s school help maintain stereotypes of women during that time? Why do you think Prudence longs for “a job that’s meaningful
2. What does Mary’s reaction to Mr. Soper and Prudence’s visit tell you about the stereotype of the Irish immigrants in America?
3. Why do you think it was so easy to spread diseases in the early 1900s?
4. Why do Prudence and her mother want to think of themselves only as American and nothing else? Was this true of most immigrants at this time in history? Explain your answer.
5. Prudence is leaving the girls’ school to work full-time with Mr. Soper. Do you think this was a good idea or not? Explain your position.
6. What conflict does Prudence struggle with as Mr. Soper tries to find Mary and get her to cooperate?
7. What is your opinion of the way the Mary Mallon case was handled by the health department? Do you think they did the right thing in capturing Mary like they did? Explain your answers by using supporting details. What would you have done differently?
8. Read the newspaper account on pages 246–248. Whose side does the newspaper seem to be taking? What facts does it contain? What name have they given Mary?
9. Why are other servants and Mary’s employers so uncooperative with Mr. Soper about stopping Mary Mallon from continuing her work?
10. Why is Prudence keeping the news of her father to herself? Do you agree with her decision? Explain.
11. The judge says: “It’s not a question of innocence or guilt, but a matter of circumstance.” How is this different from most trials? Do you think this was any consolation to Mary or her followers?