1.    Lillian Gish’s original name was Rose. What does this tell us about her mother – that Arbutus changed her daughter’s name?

2.    Nicholas and Cantata Sherwood had radically different parenting styles. How do you think this affected their children?

3.    Myrtle and Arbutus represent two different worlds. Both were influenced significantly by their relationship with Helen. How did the two generations differ in this regard?

4.    Helen loved Wanderer, yet was a distant mother to Cantata. Why do you think this was?

5.    What do you think of Helen’s beliefs and actions concerning the Corporal family? What was her primary motivation?

6.    How do you think Charles Sherwood’s death influenced Nicholas’s future?

7.    Discuss the differences in attitudes toward death in the three families.

8.    How would the story differ had Wanderer lived? had Randolph not gone to work that day? Would the Arbutus we know have emerged?

9.    Arbutus and Lillian Gish – both stoic women. Do they exhibit this quality in the same way?