The Great Gilly Hopkins Ideas for Reports and Papers
by Katherine Paterson

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Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Trace Gilly Hopkins's development as a character by examining her use of similes and metaphors. How does her use of figurative language underscore her changing picture of the world and her relationship with those around her?

2. From the evidence in the novel, reconstruct the first eleven years of Gilly's life. Does such a reconstruction explain why she is so angry?

3. "Galadriel" (Gilly's full name) comes from J. R. R. Tolkien's trilogy The Lord of the Rings, which Miss Harris sends to Gilly in Virginia. After Gilly has read the books, she knows who Galadriel was. Compare the character of Galadriel in Tolkien with Paterson's Gilly.

4. What direction do you think Gilly's life will take with her grandmother in Virginia?

5. Does the frequent mention of television in the novel merely give us a realistic rendering of contemporary life, or is television mentioned so frequently for other reasons? Does Gilly ever use what she has learned from television to help her manipulate others or deal with difficult situations? Is Gilly a passive or an active viewer? Is W.E. a passive or an active viewer? Does the influence of television appear to be primarily negative or positive in the novel?