Reading Group Guide
SUGGESTED TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION
- Jewel's mother referred to the stories of who Jewel was and where she came from as "stones in your pocket." What did she mean by this? What were Jewel's "stones" and how did they affect the course of her life?
- "I say unto you that the baby you be carrying be yo' hardship, be yo' test in this world. This by my prophesying unto you, Miss Jewel." These words of Cathedral not only carried great portent, but also haunted Jewel throughout her life. Discuss the various implications of Cathedral's prophecy.
- With this same statement, the author interjects a spiritual element to the story. Is it believable? Or does it seem to run counter to the tone of the rest of the book?
- When Jewel slaps Cathedral, it is a defining moment for them both. Besides expressing Jewel's blaming of Cathedral for Brenda Kay's accident, what else did this act signify? Was slapping Cathedral a slap at faith?
- Did Jewel's determination and action-oriented path to help Brenda Kay diminish her own religious faith?
- When Jewel returns to make amends with Cathedral, why does Cathedral reject her and offer no comfort? Why is Cathedral angry and unforgiving?
- Why did the author assign the names Jewel and Cathedral to these characters? Are we to find meaning in them? If so, what?
- Jewel's attitude toward blacks and her understanding of racial issues evolved