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    Book Club Discussion Questions:                1.    Expelled
A Story of the Polish Resistance

 
1. Why do you think Maria accompanied Milosz when he got off the train “to pee” instead of either of his parents?

2.Did reading of all of the pre-war preparations cause you to consider your own preparation for possible disasters? Did it have a positive or negative effect?


3.The author introduces Mr. Novak, the schoolmaster, by breaking a cardinal rule in fiction: Never hurt a dog. Do you think it was too off-putting to the reader or was it effective in identifying the nature of the character?

4.There are many  “type cast” characters who represent historical figures and groups. Aleks and Jakub are representative of those who act or acted with courage against oppression and evil. What classes and individuals in world history might these other characters represent?

Milosz,

Dabrowskis

Magdalena’s step-mother

The greedy priest

The Nazi officer who warns Aleks when he sees him in company with the priest.

Dab, (the nephew)

Maria

5.What do you think of the decision to blow up the beautiful bridge that the town of Polva depended on for supply chain and external communication? When does a wartime decision cross over into terrorism?

6.Could you kill someone in the circumstances Aleks and Jakub found themselves?  How did they justify it and how would you feel about it in their shoes?

7.Were you pleased or disappointed that Maria ended up marrying Alex’s father?  Should she consider his behavior toward her as unforgivable?

8. For those like Alex’s father who flee the scene of conflict, are they cowards or pragmatists?  Explain the difference.

9.Would you have done as Jakub did and  go and seek your family, despite the risks, the sacrifices already made, and the likelihood of failure? Why did Jakub do it and why would you do or not do it?

10.Would you have done as Dab did to try to help his friend, even considering his foolhardiness?

11.Aleks gifts his ancestral home to his friends who have taken it for themselves already. How would you handle that situation? Was there a better way?

12.The Polish Resistance used multitudes of children in their efforts against the Nazis and later the Russians. Is that a morally acceptable decision? Is there a line too sacred to cross in any circumstance regarding putting children in harm’s way?

Book Club Discussion Questions:
    The Treasure of the
          House of Levi

1. What did you think of the structure of the novel? Did the movement backward and forward in time heighten or lessen your engagement?

 

2. Did the characters of each of Judy's parents remind you of people you know personally? If you were Judy's friend and wanted to help her improve her relationship with her parents, what would you say or advise? 

3. If you were going to choose between Dora and Judy to be your best friend, which one would you choose and why?

 

4. In Zebiah's day, girls were negotiated as property very young, usually between the fathers. Money was exchanged and the contract was binding. What aspects of that system are superior and inferior to modern methods?

5. Did you enjoy the whimsical way the Lamed was bestowed on the keepers and their protectors or did you feel that it detracted from the historicity of the storyline?

 

6. Would you have chosen Ahikam or King Josiah as husband? 

 

7. Was Zebiah guilty of idol worship when she knew Rebecca had hidden the fertility idol in her bedroom and failed to get rid of it? Do you think her infertility was the result of her unworthiness?

8. The story follows the Biblical account of the life and death of King Josiah closely. He died in the valley of Armageddon after refusing to listen to advice to leave well enough alone. What parallels do you see in current world conditions? 

9. Have you ever known someone like Margola who thinks of themselves as being so righteous that they honestly believe that they are always right? How does one cure them? 

10. Thaddeus's position as a Levite/Christian and a Roman Soldier forced him to choose between two opposite goals. What did he do well and what could he have done better 1. As a soldier? 2. As a Christian?

11.Thaddeus' eventual solution to Margola's stubbornness was far from politically correct to a modern reader. Is he a brute (albeit a handsome one) or a hero? Why?

12. Judy and Dora were forced to deal with a very wicked man in Kappler on a daily basis. Should they have slipped some rat poison into his coffee and been done with him? Why or why not?

13. When Dora taught Judy to wear makeup, was it a corruption or a correction? Were the men justified in telling her not to wear it or merely sexist? 

13. Was Agnes innocently well-intentioned or self-serving. What caused you to form your opinion? 

14. Why would God give a man like Houndstooth the mark of the Lamed? 

15. What do we learn about love from Antonio?

16. Monsignor O'Flaherty was a real character. When he got to the other side, what did God say to him about visiting Kappler in prison every week after the war? What did Hugh O'Flaherty say back to God?

 

 

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