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1. From late night meetings to fasts of solidarity, the girls at the convent are always coming up with new adventures. How does the author use Felice and her mischievous friends as a mechanism to explore female adolescence?
2. Even though she is a kitchen assistant, Soukie seems to be an insider on every situation. What role does Soukie play both for the sisters and the girls at the convent?
3. The male characters in the story seem mysterious and distant. The injured mute, the Indian boy, even the Abbé's character is not fully revealed. How do these individuals enhance the curiosity and subsequent escapades of the young women?
4. Felice keeps a secret chamber of cherished treasures. "She laid them—glass, iron, bit of cloth, cobbles—on the wall beside the small painting, arranging and rearranging them in different group." (pg. 151) Discuss the significance of these objects.
5. There is a sense of suppressed tension between Sister Agatha and Sister Theodota. They almost have a version of sibling rivalry between them. How does their relationship affect the balance of the convent?
6. Felice is the recipient of many gifts at the convent, most notably a painting from Sister Agatha and the silver sculpture of the Virgin Mary from Mother Superior. Why do you think Felice receives special treatment from the Sisters?
7. Felice and Celeste have a hot-and-cold relationship. They compete for the attention of their peers, while slowly discovering more about their own identities. Discuss the progression of their friendship and their own self-discoveries.
8. Many meaningful events occur in the convent dining room: Sister Agatha's outburst, Evangeline's bible readings and Felice's symbolic eating. What significance does the dining hall play in this story?
9. A major theme of this story is religion. As Felice spends more time at the convent she develops a passion for the church and tries incessantly to convert her Uncle Adolphe. Why do you think Felice is so persistent with her reluctant Uncle?
10. Davis-Gardner creates a starkly realistic description of convent life for a young girl. How does her detail and elegant prose enrich your reading experience?
11. Life, death and sexuality are explored as Felice slowly comes into her own. How do her friendships and the guidance at the convent help shape her maturation?