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1. In the first story, “With Jazz,” compare the narrator’s relationship with her children with her relationship with Jazz. What are the similarities and differences?
2. How does Peyton’s mom’s stroke affect Liz in “Tunica”? How does it affect Liz and Peyton’s interaction with each other?
3. Describe the similarities and differences between the second and fourth stories, “Tobrah” and “Thunder Snow.” What role does the child play in both stories?
4. How does the fictional character of “Scott” in the fifth story, “Rolling into Atlanta” inform us of aspects of Annie’s personality?
5. Consider the ending of the sixth story, “Three-Wheeler.” Why do you suppose the author ended it this way?
6. How do the author’s descriptions of environment, both in the outer landscape as a whole as well as in the funeral parlor, reflect the themes in the seventh story, “The Funeral Side”? How does this compare with the sense of place in the ninth story, “Proper Gypsies?”
7. In the eighth story, “Window Lights”, what do you think is the significance of the following line: “I also have the feeling that nothing is chosen, everything is inevitable–these fateful patterns of human behavior.”
8. How does the notion of drugs, both legal and illegal, figure into the last two stories of the book?
9. What themes run through all the stories? What recurring relationships are present?
10. How important is syntax in creating a sense of place in the story? Consider both dialogue and narrative.