Reader's Group Guide for Speak Softly, She Can Hear
1) Describe the various settings in which the story takes place. What does Vermont in particular symbolize for Carole? The story takes place during the 1960s and 1970s. How does this unique period in history figure into the story?
2) From the very beginning of their encounter, Carole defers all power to Eddie both sexually and psychologically, instantly believing his version of the events in Stowe. Why do you think she does this? Discuss Carole's personality. Are there other instances with other characters in which Carole surrenders power? Do you think of Carole as weak or strong? Why? Do you feel her personality changes by the end of the story?
3) At the end of the novel, Carole is visited by her estranged father and the theme of family relationships comes full circle. How is this theme of family explored throughout the novel? How does Carole's relationship with her parents change after the events in Stowe? What is the nature of Naomi's family life? How do the familial relationships in the novel define and shape the characters and their actions?
4) What is the nature of Naomi and Carole's friendship at the beginning of the novel? Why do you think Naomi befriended Carole? What motivates Naomi to continue seeing Eddie, even after the events in Vermont? What is your overall opinion of Naomi? Do you consider her a product of her own design or a tragic character, the victim of unfortunate circumstances