The Face in the Cloth

by Jane Yolen

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Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 380

1. What was it that the Princess least desired to give?

2. What does the carrying of the image of the mother on every cloak worn by the Princess represent? Why does the image grow larger as the Princess grows and the sizes of her cloaks grow?

3. Why does the King not take the image of the Queen from his daughter? Would he be helping her? How would she react?

4. Why was the Princess always wearing the cloak, even on hot days?

5. Would the Princess know how to bake bread?

6. "She had to use up the rest of her mother's thread before she was free." From what would she be free?

7. What was it that the Queen least desired to give?

8. What was it that the King least desired to give?

9. Why do fairy tales often deal in absolutes such as having to give what one least wants to give in order to receive what one wants most? Why is there not room for negotiation?

10. What does the second sister mean when she says to the King, "Our lives have been sewn together by a queen's desire"?

11. If the King and Queen are in love and happy with each other, why are they unhappy about not having children?

12. What might have happened if the King had allowed the three sisters into his castle to attend to his wife?

13. The magic of the sisters seems to result in the death of the Queen. Does this make them evil? They seem to be instrumental in liberating the Princess. Does this make them good?

14. If the Princess were to be in a childless marriage, and like her mother she wanted children, would she go to the three sisters for help as her mother had?

15. In what ways does modern technology parallel the magic in "The Face in the Cloth"? Is the technology viewed by people the way the characters in "The Face in the Cloth" view the magic?

16. When the Princess returns to the castle how will her life change? What will her relationship with her father be like?

17. In the end, is the image of her mother forever banished from the Princess' life?

18. As the King watches the Queen's face appear in thread on the cloth, what is happening? What does the thread represent?

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