The Sign of the Beaver Topics for Discussion
by Elizabeth George Speare

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Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

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1. Children in colonial America had to grow up much more quickly than children do today. Matt and Attean become adults by the age of thirteen. Why was this possible?

2. How would you like to have lived in colonial America instead of the present time? What would you have missed or enjoyed?

3. Why is Matt so concerned about earning Attean's respect? How does he finally succeed in doing so?

4. Attean goes off by himself to find his manitou or guardian spirit, so he can become a man. Does anything similar happen to Matt?

5. After Matt offers Ben hospitality, Ben steals his gun. Should Matt have refused to let Ben in? What might have happened then? What could Matt have said or done to ease the situation?

6. What do you think will happen to Attean and his people after they move further west? What do you think life will be like for Matt and his family after Maine becomes more populated?

7. Why does Matt have to skip parts of Robinson Crusoe when he tries to teach Attean to read? Would the lessons have gone better if he had started with the Bible instead of Robinson Crusoe?

8. Throughout the story Attean is seen from Matt's point of view. How do you think Matt appears to Attean?

9. Much of Native American culture was eventually destroyed by the development of white settlers. How much blame should be placed on settlers such as Matt and his family for this tragedy?