A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver Topics for Discussion
by E. L. Konigsburg

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Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

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1. How much influence on the general populace does a ruler's style have? Eleanor believed that a ruler's duty included providing a touch of glamor in the lives of the common people. King Louis disagreed. Compare the styles of some U.S. presidents, such as the luxurious elegance of John Kennedy, the "plain folks" approach of Jimmy Carter, the Hollywood touch of Ronald Reagan.

2. Eleanor believed that festivals such as coronations, inaugurations, and world fairs are important for a sense of community: "There is nothing like a lavish display to give people pride in their country." Can we see this same principle working in smaller units, school homecomings or family celebrations, for instance?

3. Historically, the most important function of a queen was to produce an heir to the throne. What other functions does Eleanor find? Why can Henry gladly accept her help while Louis cannot?

4. One of King Henry's accomplishments was his effort to ensure that people would have equal legal treatment. The American judicial system is based on English common law. Despite the legal assurances of equality under the law, are there instances when justice does not seem to be applied equally?

5. Eleanor and Marie invent the Courtly Love games to occupy restless teenagers and to teach them about acceptable manners and attitudes. What kinds of activities serve that purpose for teenagers today?

6. For more information on some aspects of medieval life, contact your local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism. To find the chapter nearest you, contact the national headquarters: P.O. Box 360743, Milpitas, CA 95035.