Discussion Questions for The Apple House:
As children our attitudes are shaped by our families, sometimes unwittingly, but in childhood we are also more open to outside influences than at any other time in our lives. The drive to explore the world around us is healthy and yet a child’s limited experience often leads her to misinterpret events.
- How do Imogene’s childhood adventures at The Apple House influence her later in life?
- As a mature adult why would she avoid Madame Chaput?
Petey is a strong force in the Jackson family and dearly loved but because of his limited intelligence, he is also a source of great worry. Imogene tells us “….he’s a decent, kindly human being and his moral sense is more highly developed than most. It’s just commonsense he lacks.”
- Does the story bear this out?
Swen is the village bad boy.
- Why is his delinquent behaviour tolerated by the Laviolettes and by many of the villagers as well?
- What was his motive for moving into the Apple House and hiring Petey?
Imogene and Swen dislike each other intensely but they both love Thomas.
- Do you think Imogene should have made more of an effort to get along with him?
- What difference might it have made?
Dr. Campeau tells Imogene that language is not important. “Allophone, Francophone, Anglophone, these categories are all nonsense.”
- What separates people and what brings them together?
- Is it possible to blend into another culture without losing one’s own identity?
- Is it possible to keep a foot in both?
- Is it desirable?
- Is it only her inability to speak French that drives Imogene from the village?
The story is told in the first person but shifts to third in a series of childhood flashbacks.
- What effect does this have on the narrative?
Gillian would love to visit your book club!