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Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 270

  • Pregnancy among unmarried women is not as stigmatized in contemporary culture as it was in the early twentieth century, when Grace Brown found herself so desperately alone. However, teenage pregnancy and teen sexuality are still complicated and controversial social issues. In a group, discuss how the emotional issues surrounding teen pregnancy have or have not changed in the past century. Consider additionally attitudes toward sexuality, birth control, abortion, and abstinence initiatives.
  • As a voracious reader, Mattie is heavily influenced by the books she reads, and none makes a bigger impact on her than Emily Baxter's poetry book, Threnody. In a two-page essay, write about a book that has had a big impact on your life. What about the book that inspired you, and what did it inspire you to do? Use specific examples from the book and from your life.
  • Word duels are a creative aspect of Mattie's relationship with Weaver. Make a list of the challenging vocabulary words that head each chapter in the novel, and see how many synonyms you can find for each word. Challenge a partner to a duel with synonyms from your list until you exhaust the possibilities. Also, try using each word from your list in a sentence.
  • Mattie is saddened by the recognition that characters in novels cannot change their fates. Is there a character in A Northern Light whose fate you would like to change? Choose a character other than Mattie, and rewrite the script of what happens to him or her in a two-page essay. Discuss how the change might have impacted Mattie's life and the general outcome of the novel.

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