Over Sea, Under Stone Ideas for Reports and Papers
by Susan Cooper

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Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. The Dark Is Rising was the Newbery Honor book in 1974, and The Grey King won the Newbery Medal in 1976. Each book received other awards as well. Over Sea, Under Stone received excellent reviews, but won no major awards. Do you think Over Sea, Under Stone is a prize-deserving novel? Why or why not?

2. In chapter six, Barney tells what he knows about King Arthur. What could Barney add to his telling to help us better understand Over Sea, Under Stone and the other novels in The Dark Is Rising series?

3. Simon and Jane are near the standing stones when they hear what they think is an owl, "a friendless, inhuman, desolate sound," in chapter eight. Then, in chapter thirteen, they and Barney again hear this sound from near the beach. In both cases, the cry is not one of an owl, but of the enemy. Where else in Over Sea, Under Stone do people, events, or objects seem to be different than they actually are?

4. Bill Hoover reacts rudely and angrily after he has driven his bicycle into Jane. His reaction gives Jane, Barney, and Simon a negative first impression of him, and he later turns out to evil. What other foreshadowings are there in the novel? What other first impressions are accurate?

5. While looking for a door to the attic, Jane says "perhaps there's another door, I mean cave, that we haven't noticed." She and her brothers then find the door, explore the attic, and find the map. Later, they discover the opening to the real cave and find the grail. How do these two stories within the novel echo and complement each other? Are there other parallel stories within the novel? Are there other repetitions?

6. What is the Holy Grail? Why is it so important for the forces of Light to find the grail?

7. Thomas Malory in Morte Darthur (1485), Richard Wagner in Parsifal (1882), and other authors and composers have based works on the quest for the grail. Is the quest in Over Sea, Under Stone like or unlike the quest in one of these other works?

8. Near the beginning of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C. S. Lewis, the children enter a wardrobe and discover Narnia; near the beginning of Over...

(The entire section is 560 words.)