Gathering Blue

by Lois Lowry

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1. Describe a scenario leading to a man-made catastrophe that could result in the kind of destruction found in Gathering Blue. Is war the only possible cause? Could the ruin have been brought about in an ecological disaster of some kind? How about some form of accident?

2. What natural catastrophes could cause such complete and wide-spread destruction and ruin? Write a story about surviving such a catastrophe and what life might be like in the aftermath.

3. Compare Gathering Blue to other books or stories you may have read that present an unflattering, pessimistic view of the future. What do they have in common? What do you think is their purpose?

4. What role does color have in our lives? Do certain colors have special meaning to us, symbolize certain things? Do some colors affect the way we think and feel?

5. How are gifted children treated in our society? Are gifted children sometimes taken from their parents so that their talents may be nurtured and "harvested" in ways similar to that in Gathering Blue?

6. We cherish and celebrate our freedom. Were the people of the village free? Do you think they thought they were free? What makes a person free? Are there different kinds and degrees of freedom?

7. What kind of people do you consider handicapped? How do our laws protect the handicapped? Are handicapped people still discriminated against in any way? How do handicapped people compensate for their handicap?

8. What is creativity? Can creativity be taught, nurtured, or cultivated? Is it a gift? Are creative people born with some special quality that allows them to create new ideas and new ways of seeing and understanding the world?

9. Can art really change the world, make it better? How?

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