Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 234
1. Speaking to the village teacher, Mark quotes the famous humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, saying that there are two kinds of innocent people: those who are unaware of life's problems, and those who try to learn, fail, and keep trying to understand the unknown. In an essay, apply this idea to the novel and its themes and characters.
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2. Research the northwestern Native American cultures, focusing on their mythology, legends, and religion. Compare and contrast the philosophy of life reflected in these areas with the Greek and Roman mythology that our society knows well. Look for specific differences and similarities.
3. Mark and the village elders disagree as to what path the young people should follow in their lives. Explain the two views and, using the book's events as a guide, explain which view is more sensible and beneficial to society. Also compare the dilemma to that facing young people in society in general.
4. Characters such as the teacher, the anthropologist, the American tourists, and the Canadian government officials and police show society's misguided, even cruel, attitudes and their effects. Research the history of America's treatment of Native Americans and explain how these characters reflect attitudes that could lead to such treatment.
5. The topic of Mark's first sermon is "It's better to be a small shrimp on the sea of faith than a dead whale on the beach." How does this apply to the book and its themes?