Ideas for Reports and Papers
1. How accurate is the portrayal of everyday life for Daniel's era and place in The Bronze Bow? You may need to narrow this down and research a specific aspect of life depicted in the novel. For instance, you may want to focus only on religious customs or the way a smithy would have operated.
2. Find all the times the bronze bow is mentioned. Does it have different meanings in different places in the book? Does its meaning develop in a logical pattern, perhaps shifting from hate to love as Daniel changes?
3. Does Speare's depiction of Jesus match the depictions in the New Testament? Does it most closely match the portrayals in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John? Be sure to cite passages from the New Testament that either agree with or contradict passages in The Bronze Bow.
4. The idea that uncompromising hatred is foolish could easily be presented in a trite, even condescending manner, yet Speare makes it into a rich, well developed theme. How does she do this? By connecting it to her characterizations? By showing the results of such hatred? In other ways?
5. Why does Malthace not take an even more active role in the lives of Joel and Daniel than she does? What were the customs of her time and place that would have at least partly dictated what she could and could not do?
6. Research the city of Capernaum. What is its history? What made it important in Daniel's time? What were its people like? What was its social structure?
7. Research the history of Rome's rule over Palestine. How did Rome conquer the area? How did it rule the area?
8. About ten years before the events of The Bronze Bow take place, when Daniel was only eight years old, his father was executed for trying to help Daniel's uncle, who had been arrested in a tax dispute. This provides most of the motivation for Daniel's actions in the novel. What were the tax laws like? Who determined what the taxes should be and what was to be taxed? Who collected the taxes? Why would the Jews view the taxes as oppressive?