Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 293
1. Have you ever written your name on a piece of public property? Why does Hope always write "Hope was here" before leaving a place?
2. Hope is a major theme throughout the story. Find several examples of different characters expressing hope in the story. Are their hopes justified?
3. Explain what is meant by "comfort food."
4. Many cultures believe that a child's name should be chosen with great care because it will influence the way his or her life is lived. Why do you think Hope chose such a powerful name to live up to when she changed her name?
5. Several of the other characters have names that are symbolic of their lives or attitudes. Discuss what these names represent or symbolize.
6. Throughout the novel, Hope formulates quite a few rules to live by. Find at least five of these and discuss how they might apply to everyone.
7. Hope's mother insists that giving Hope away was the best possible thing she could do for her. Did she do the best thing for Hope? Why or why not? Should she continue to be involved in Hope's life since she does not contribute to her support in any way?
8. G. T. plants trees for his loved ones. Why does he do this? What is the symbolic meaning of this gesture? How does it relate to the story as a whole?
9. Discuss ways in which G. T. might wage his campaign in order to win the first time around. Does he make any serious mistakes in judgment? Would you make other decisions at certain points in the campaign? If so, what and why?
10. In the final chapter, Hope says that she is "the perfect daughter" for G. T. Why does she say this, and what does she mean?