Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 300
1. Trace the changes that Andy, Onion John, and Mr. Rusch undergo during the course of the novel. What causes these changes? Who would you say changes the least and why?
2. What does the moon symbolize in the story?
3. Research how people around the world, and throughout history, have tried to "make rain." How do they compare in method and degree of success?
4. Compare the attitudes that Andy and his father have toward the meaning of success and failure. What is the basis for each person's opinion?
5. Describe the relationship that exists between Mr. Rusch and Onion John. How do they interact with one another? How does this relationship affect their personal lives and the lives of people around them?
6. Do you think Onion John Day was a good idea? What were some positive and negative results of this project? Overall, do you believe it did more harm or good? Why?
7. According to the various characters in the story, what are happiness and unhappiness? What causes these emotions?
8. What is Mr. Rusch's attitude about decision-making? What advice would he give on making good decisions? Do you think he follows his own advice in handling problems? Why or why not? What is his opinion concerning the ability of young people to make good decisions? Do you agree or disagree?
9. Make a list of Onion John's superstitions and his reasoning behind each belief. How does modern society, especially as represented by Andy's father, respond to each of these ideas? Which of Onion John's superstitions appear to actually have the results he claims and which do not? What is the difference between a "foolish idea" and a "legitimate, but unusual, belief"? How does a person define what is "ridiculous" or "foolish," and what effect does that definition have on the meaning of growing up?
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