Topics for Discussion
1. What is the Jewish festival of Hanukkah? How does it figure in several of Singer's stories, such as "Grandmother's Tale" and "The Devil's Trick"?
2. Is Chelm a real or imaginary village? Does it matter? What are its main characteristics?
3. Is the trick played on Atzel in "Fool's Paradise" a cruel joke or a good lesson? Why? What does Atzel seem to think?
4. Do Maurice Sendak's illustrations help you to visualize the characters and events in these stories? Are they necessary?
5. Compare David in "The Devil's Trick" with David in the biblical story of David and Goliath. Are there any similarities? If so, what are they?
6. Singer says he has been a lifelong lover of nature. Which stories reveal this aspect of the writer?
7. Do you know any real persons who resemble the characters in any of these stories? What are their essential similarities?