The Nargun and the Stars Topics for Discussion
by Patricia Wrightson

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Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Fire is the Nargun's "dreaming;" stone is the Nyols'. The swamp is a "dreaming of many rivers." That all things have a "dreaming," an object of desire that is also their source, is an Aboriginal concept. What, do you think, is the dreaming of humans? Of Charlie and Edie?

2. Despite the fact that it nearly killed him twice, in the end Simon pities the Nargun. Why? How can he feel this way about a creature so terrible?

3. Critics have said, and Wrightson has confirmed, that her works tend increasingly to present the "other" point of view. How does this appear in The Nargun and the Stars, and what is its significance?

4. Does your community have local environmental problems that you are aware of? Is there a piece of wetlands or park under threat from developers? Is there a toxic waste dump nearby? How clean is the river or the ponds? Discuss these problems from the perspective of the nature spirits in the book. What would, or could, they do about them? What would Simon do? What could you?

5. At the beginning of the story Simon does not like Charlie and Edie, and he hates Wongadilla (he thinks it is a "weird place"). Why and how does he change?

6. The men who are clearing land for the government near the boundary of Wongadilla do not appear for very long in the book, nor are they very fully developed as characters. Yet it is their machinery and their work that has distressed the old things. Are they the villains of the story? Why or why not?