Balyet Ideas for Reports and Papers
by Patricia Wrightson

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Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Many cultures have legends of playful and dangerous spirits who lurk in lonely places. Find and read a story about one from Native American lore, from Greek mythology, or from some other similar source. Write a short paper telling how that spirit and its story resembles Balyet, and how it is different.

2. Balyet contains several characters and situations which are not followed very far. How do you suppose Kevin's parents felt when he disappeared, and then Jo brought him back so cold and white? How much do you think Terry and Lance knew about Balyet and the way she was calling to Jo? How is Jo's mother going to react to the whole adventure when she comes backā€”or will she even hear about it?

3. The story mentions Mrs. Willet's booliah stones and her mission to tend the hidden sacred places. Read some more about Australian aboriginal legends and beliefs. Write a report on how the Aborigines perceived their land and how Mrs. Willet's tasks relate to these beliefs.

4. Draw a picture showing how you think Balyet must have appeared to Jo and Mrs. Willet. Or draw a map of the places mentioned in the story, showing the limits of where Balyet was able to go.

5. There are many famous stories in myth and literature where a forbidden flirtation or love affair leads to tragedy, as Balyet's did. Sometimes it is mainly the participants who suffer, and sometimes their families or the whole society does also. List at least five of such stories that you know about. For each one, tell why the match was against the rules, and what happened as a result.