A spool of blue thread, p.36
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       A Spool of Blue Thread, p.36

           Anne Tyler

  12. Abby dies suddenly in an accident, just like Red’s parents did. When it came to his parents, “Red was of the opinion that instantaneous death was a mercy …” (this page) Do you think he felt the same way after Abby’s death?

  13. Why didn’t Abby tell Red about Stem’s mother? Why didn’t Denny tell Stem? And why, after they learn the truth, does Stem make Red and Denny promise not to tell anyone else?

  14. At Abby’s funeral, Reverend Alban speculates that heaven may be “a vast consciousness that the dead return to,” bringing their memories with them. (this page) What do you think of his theory? What do you imagine Abby would say about it?

  15. Why did Red’s pausing to count the rings on the felled poplar make Abby fall in love with him?

  16. The novel isn’t structured chronologically. How does Tyler use shifts in time to reveal character and change the reader’s perception?

  17. What is the significance of the porch swing? What does it tell us about Linnie Mae and Junior?

  18. After reading their story, how did your opinion of Linnie Mae change?

  19. The Whitshank house, built by Junior and maintained by Red, is practically a character in the novel. What does it mean to the Whit shank family? Why, in the end, does it seem easy for Red to leave?

  20. On the train at the end of the novel, Denny sits next to a teenage boy who cries quietly. What is the significance of this scene?

  Suggested Reading

  Alice McDermott, Someone

  Elizabeth Graver, The End of the Point

  Ann Patchett, This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage

  Jane Smiley, Some Luck

  Matthew Thomas, We Are Not Ourselves



  Anne Tyler, A Spool of Blue Thread

  (Series: # )




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