The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn by John Bellairs

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Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Compare Anthony's mother, Ginny Monday, with Miss Eells. What is good or bad about Ginny's influence on Anthony? What, if anything, does Miss Eells provide for Anthony that his mother does not?

2. Bellairs makes Anthony's friend a librarian, his enemy a banker. Is he indulging in social stereotypes by doing so? Does the characterization of Miss Eells as a person who spills and breaks things make her more or less endearing to readers? Why?

3. Discuss the ethical issues involved in denying Philpotts the right to buy the mirror. Does Anthony have the right to break into the deserted house? Should the treasure rightfully belong to Philpotts?

4. Discuss the degree to which luck allows Anthony to discover the treasure. Are there too many coincidences to make the story convincing?

5. Is the ending, with the storm, the flood, and the shaky ladder, too unlikely to be convincing?