Children of the Fox Topics for Discussion
by Jill Paton Walsh

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Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

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1. Why does Aster's mother live in self-imposed seclusion? Why does Phryne stay with the family? What does Lysia think of her status in the family? What is Aster's attitude toward Lysia?

2. Why does Aster chase away her pets? What does this show about her attitude toward the evacuation? What is her mother's attitude? What is Phryne's?

3. At the end of Crossing to Salamis, Themistokles says to Aster, "Why then, you need, I should think, a man with a Spartan mother, and liberal views, and an estate in the country somewhere healthy and secluded," and immediately Androkles steps forward to offer a proposal of marriage. Why is this improbable resolution appropriate for this story?

4. Describe the Greek system of city-states. How was this system affected by the geography of the country?

5. What is the custom of Amyntas's court regarding fugitives who ask for protection from the king? Why is Themistokles so amazed that the queen offers him her child?

6. Why doesn't the Athenian captain of the merchant ship turn Themistokles over to the Athenian navy?

7. Who is the Athenian to whom Lala tells her story in Persian Gold? Check the afterword to see what sources Paton Walsh used in her research about Themistokles.

8. What motivates Aster, Demeas, and Lala to embark on their respective adventures? How are these motivations and stories connected?

9. What kind of a man is Themistokles: a brave and noble hero or a scoundrel and traitor who cheated to gain fame and fortune? Support your answer with examples of his conduct.