Sarah, Plain and Tall Topics for Discussion
by Patricia MacLachlan

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Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

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1. Why is Anna uncomfortable around Caleb? Why does she associate him with her mother's death? Is it fair that she thinks of her mother's death when she thinks of Caleb?

2. Sarah is lonely, but she has turned down marriage proposals before answering Papa's advertisement. Why would she come to live with strangers on the prairie if there are men in Maine who want to marry her?

3. Why is it important that Sarah sings "Sumer Is Icumen In"?

4. Why is it such a shock to Sarah to find the dead sheep?

5. Sarah teaches Anna and Caleb how to swim. How does this affect their growing relationship?

6. Maggie, a neighbor's wife, teaches Sarah that "there are always things to miss, no matter where you are." Maggie, Sarah, and Anna all miss something. What does each miss? What does this tell the readers about each character?

7. Sarah insists on helping Papa repair the roof and on learning to drive a horse and wagon. Why doesn't she let Papa repair the roof himself, considering that the task is difficult and there is a squall coming on? Why does she insist on driving the wagon by herself when Papa can take her where she likes?

8. Sarah runs out into a nasty squall to tend her chickens. Why? What do you think of the description of the squall itself?

9. Caleb says that Sarah's drawing lacks the colors of the sea. Why is this important?