What are some discussion questions that can be used in leading a group discussion on Vendela Vida's Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name? I am a discussion leader for a group of 12 women and need help with the discussion format.
I think that some of the strongest discussion questions regarding Vida's work is going to be how past and present are connected. In fostering this discussion, I would open with the following statement by William Faulkner:
The past is never dead. It's not even past.
I centered this quote because it might be a real interesting discussion point for the group to discuss both in the novel and in their own lives. How would Clarissa, the protagonist, respond to this quote? How would she react to it? How do her actions represent this quote? Is Clarissa trapped by her past or animated by it? Broadening this to the discussion people would be real interesting. What are some examples of how we represent Faulkner's quote? Is is psychologically healthy to live in a condition where the past "is never dead?" One can only think of modern tragic situations and conditions where individuals struggle with this aspect of their identity on both personal and political levels and I think being able to explore this condition based on Clarissa's experiences and our own is what makes Vida's work so powerful. If you are really bold, it might be important to discuss how Clarissa would respond to the quote knowing that a man, Faulkner, came up with it. Is there something uniquely different about women's experiences with the past than men's experiences? Certainly, one sees this in the relationship between Pankaj and Clarissa, and it might be really interesting to stoke this fire with the group, as well.
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