Sunday, September 05, 2010

Group/Book Club Discussion Questions

Irish Twins
1.     The term Irish Twins, describing two children born to the same mother within a twelve-month period, dates back to the 1840s when massive numbers of Irish people came to the United States. Discuss the Irish Potato Famine, what it was, what caused it and the effect it had on the Irish population. How were the Irish treated in America and what other derogatory terms arose during this period of time?

2.     There are two sets of Irish Twins in this story. Anne and Molly and Caylie and Jenny. Discuss how each set of twins is alike and how they are different.

3.     The narrator of this story, Anne, opens the story by detailing the day of her death and her journey into the “afterlife.” Do you believe in or have a vision of an afterlife?

4.     What role did Anne’s Catholic upbringing play in her afterlife experience?

5.     Anne gives a lot of thought to how she “abandoned” her Irish Twins when she moved with her husband, Michael, to Mitten Lake on the day of Caylie’s high school graduation. What effect did her departure at this time have on Caylie and on Jenny?

6.     Nearly every cup of tea presented to Anne is different. Describe the various cups and their significances to the scenes.

7.     Discuss the relationship between Jenny and Caylie. Does it change after their mother’s death? And if so, how?

8.     Discuss the personalities of Anne’s other children, Marie, Darlene and Ronny. What kind of relationships do they have with Jenny and Caylie? And why does Anne spend more time focusing on Jenny and Caylie than her other children?

9.     At the time of her death, Anne had been married to Michael for 56 years. What were the dynamics of their relationship? Was Michael a “good” husband to Anne?

10. When Anne sees her Irish Twin, Molly, for the first time in Ohr, she describes her as looking like the “she did when we were girls—the way she always appeared in my dreams.” Anne proceeds to “visit” her children through their dreams. Have you ever felt as though someone who has passed away has visited you in your dreams?

11. Jenny’s most precious possession is the gold watch, which Anne gave to her on Caylie’s wedding day. What significance does the watch have in this story?

12. The subtitle of Irish Twins is “A Story About Life and Death, Sisterhood and Forgiveness.” What role does forgiveness play?

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