The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman

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Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Does Alyce have a moral right to take revenge on those who have humiliated her? If so, to what degree? Is it ever right to take personal vengeance in the modern world? If so, in what circumstances and under what conditions?

2. Should Alyce protest the sharp practices, if not outright cheating, of the innkeeper's wife? Should Alyce try to deal honestly with the customers despite the example set by Jennet? Is Jennet's justification of her adulterated trade a good one? Would we today except this explanation for goods or services purchased that were intentionally shorted by the seller?

3. Does the midwife have any moral obligation to help those mothers-to-be who cannot pay her fees? How does her attitude compare to the attitudes of today's health practioners and caregivers? How do modern insurance practices affect the attitudes of doctors and nurses?

4. What are the strengths of modern midwifery? In what areas may it have advantages over traditional obstetrics?

5. Can you judge people by the way they treat animals? Is it possible to treat animals badly and still be a decent person?

6. What determines self-esteem in young people? Rank the factors, qualities, beliefs, and circumstances in the order you feel are most important and defend your...

(The entire section is 410 words.)