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Discussion Questions for The Invention of Wings

​Questions prepared by Rosanne Rosen, Former Senior Vice President of Operations

Discussion Questions for The Invention of Wings

Here are questions and thoughts to consider about The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd:

1.  Which character did you admire most — Handful or Sarah?  What were their similarities and their differences?  Which quality did you admire most? 

2. Once she is told she cannot pursue following her dream to become a lawyer, Sarah remarks that the Graveyard of Failed Hopes is “an all-female establishment.” What makes her say so?

3. How does Sarah struggle against the norms of her time — her family, society and religion?  Have you ever had to break away from what was ‘expected’ of you to do what you wanted to do?  What sort of risk and courage does this call for?

4. Racism in American has its roots in slavery.  How is the story relevant today? 

5. Did you know about Sarah and Angelina Grimke and their role in abolition and women’s rights before you read the book?  What kind of courage do you think it takes to go against your societal norms? 

6. Handful and Sarah had completely different relationships with their mothers.  How do you think those relationships molded them into the woman they became?  Did the relationship help or hinder them? 

7. What did you learn about slavery you did not know before reading this novel?  Did it help you have a better understanding? 

8. Sarah is faced with a decision about whether to choose a vocation or marriage. What do you think of her decision?  What has changed for women today or are they still facing those same decisions? 

9. Had you heard of Denmark Vesey prior to reading this novel?  Did you know anything before reading this about slaves resisting or why some slaves might have had allegiance to their owners? 

10. Are there ways in which Kidd’s novel can help us see our own lives differently?

11. Several of the characters in the book were considered ‘revolutionaries” for their time.  They were so committed to their cause; they were willing to give up their life or the pursuit of personal happiness because they believed so strongly in their convictions.  Are there other people in history you have admired because they believed so strongly in their cause?

12. What was your favorite quote in the book and why?

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The opinions expressed by PTPI staff and other book club members are entirely their own and are not necessarily the views of  PTPI or its Officers, Board of Directors and Board of Trustees.
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