Topics for Discussion
1. At several points in Rascal, the narrator parallels his experiences with the larger events in America during World War I. How important are these parallels, and what do they add to the work?
2. Sterling has an unusual family life, largely because of his mother's death. How does this affect him? Does he appear to suffer as a result? How does he compensate for the lack of a tightly structured family?
3. Other than master and pet, how would you characterize the relationship between the narrator and Rascal?
4. Rascal introduces several animal characters. What do we learn about animals from the work? Do you feel that North is trying to educate his reader about animals in general and raccoons in particular?
5. We might look at the narrator's taking a baby raccoon from its mother as a cruel act. How do we reconcile this apparent cruelty with what we learn about the narrator in the story?
6. Explain the many meanings that the subtitle "Memoir of a Better Era" might have.
7. Think about other animal stories you have read. What do they have in common with Rascal?