Reading Group Guide
1. What is the primary theme of the novel, and what makes you believe it is the primary theme?
2. What secondary themes does the novel explore, and how do they relate to the primary theme?
3. What is the allegorical significance of the village, the plantation, the boardwalks, the levees, the slaves, the kidnapped babies, and the flood?
4. Of all the Pilotville residents’ reactions in Chapter 24 when Hale Poser told them about the plantation and begged them to return there with him, which one sounds the most like something you might say, and why?
5. What is "the paradox of miracles" in Chapter 25? How does it apply to your life?
6. What was your initial reaction when you read the statement, "God came down a nigger" in Chapter 25? Why did you respond that way? Has your reaction changed upon further reflection, and if so, why?
7. Other than Hale Poser, which one of the characters do you respect the most, and why?
8. On a allegorical level, what main problem faced the people in the village? What main problem faced the people on the plantation? How are these problems similar and how are they different? What does this suggest about the solution(s) to the problems?
9. What is the allegorical significance of the fact that the slaves destroyed the levee themselves? How does Hale Poser’s choice to die alongside them relate to this?
10. Were Dorothy Truett and Wallace Pogue right to leave their churches in the final chapter, or should they have stayed?