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News of the World


A brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family,...
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Discuss News of the World by Paulette Jiles:
How did Johanna wanting to scalp her fallen family make you feel about her?

Created: 07/25/17

Replies: 20

Posted Jul. 25, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1584

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How did Johanna wanting to scalp her fallen family make you feel about her?

Discuss the moment when Johanna wanted to scalp her fallen enemy. How did that make you feel about her?


Posted Jul. 30, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 169

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RE: How did Johanna wanting to scalp her fallen family make you feel about her?

I certainly didn't think less of her. She was only acting out the Kiowa culture she'd been taken from. Kidd and she had a victory and she was ready to scalp the perpetrators as a token of that victory. She didn't know any different at that time.


Posted Jul. 30, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
renem

Join Date: 12/01/16

Posts: 177

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RE: How did Johanna wanting to scalp her fallen family make you feel about her?

I felt that she was totally within character. As a completely assimilated captive I expected no less.


Posted Jul. 30, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Suzanne

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 247

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RE: How did Johanna wanting to scalp her fallen family make you feel about her?

Both previous answers to this question are exactly what was in my mind when reading the question about her approaching the fallen enemy. Her action didn't cause disfavor with me!


Posted Jul. 30, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Gloria

Join Date: 03/11/15

Posts: 56

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RE: How did Johanna wanting to scalp her fallen enemy make you feel about her?

I think this reflected how completely immersed she was in the Kiowa culture. I couldn't help but cheer her on. And then, of course, thought better of it.


Posted Jul. 30, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Maggie

Join Date: 01/01/16

Posts: 112

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RE: How did Johanna wanting to scalp her fallen family make you feel about her?

I agree with the previous answers. She was raised in the Indian culture and that is what they would do. I did like Kidd's reaction. Also if she had not been raised by the Kiowa's she would not have been such a fighter and the enemies would probably have killed Kidd and captured her.


Posted Jul. 30, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
PlumGarden

Join Date: 07/27/17

Posts: 10

RE: How did Johanna wanting to scalp her fallen family make you feel about her?

In some ways, I really understood her point of view. For one thing, though she probably wasn't aware, they were intent on destroying her body and her spirit through prostituting her. She knew enough to know that they were evil and in that sense, it would symbolize ultimate victory over those who would have wanted to rob her of her innocence. Yet, the intensity of it for a 10 year old girl was a bit jarring. And as the previous post mentioned, without her instinct for survival and fighting skills, they would have died and worse. So that ferocity was an asset.


Posted Aug. 02, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ColoradoGirl

Join Date: 05/16/16

Posts: 34

RE: How did Johanna wanting to scalp her fallen family make you feel about her?

It reminded me that she felt like she was a Kiowa and reacted as such to an enemy. It was a bit shocking until I thought that through.


Posted Aug. 04, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
KateB

Join Date: 02/11/16

Posts: 60

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RE: How did Johanna wanting to scalp her fallen family make you feel about her?

It was shocking - but in character, given her life experience. It helped that the men that were after her were so abhorrent. There was a line in the book that "some people were born unsupplied with a human conscience and those people needed killing." While I don't agree with this at all, in the context of the world of the novel it seemed appropriate. One of things I really enjoy about books like this is that you can understand and empathize with people in a fictional context in a way that it is hard to imagine doing in real life. I thought it was very important that Johanna wanted to scalp them but agreed not to.


Posted Aug. 05, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dianaps

Join Date: 05/29/15

Posts: 256

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RE: How did Johanna wanting to scalp her fallen family make you feel about her?

He was the enemy and that was what she knew to do. I wasn't shocked or surprised by her response.


Posted Aug. 06, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
josephinej

Join Date: 05/11/15

Posts: 31

RE: How did Johanna wanting to scalp her fallen family make you feel about her?

I agree with the previous response. That was what she knew to do. Totally in character. And she did stop when Kidd told her "no".


Posted Aug. 07, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
emiliant

Join Date: 12/15/16

Posts: 2

RE: How did Johanna wanting to scalp her fallen family make you feel about her?

I liked her even more after that scene. It made the character so much stronger, and it emphasized the intensity of her feelings. It was a nice way to underline the complete transformation that she had gone through.


Posted Aug. 07, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

Join Date: 03/13/12

Posts: 351

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RE: How did Johanna wanting to scalp her fallen family make you feel about her?

It was not shocking, and in fact, I was glad to see this young girl become energized and feel some confidence. I do think it is important for readers to remember that white people sometimes took scalps - "redskins."


Posted Aug. 07, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
juliaa

Join Date: 12/03/11

Posts: 185

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RE: How did Johanna wanting to scalp her fallen family make you feel about her?

It's the fallen enemy she wants to scalp, not her family. This is entirely in keeping with what a Kiowa would have done, and at that point in the novel, she is still very much a Kiowa. Bear in mind, she had just demonstrated her valor and had saved the Captain's life by packing the buckshot shells with dimes of all things. The Captain's gentle response that scalping is considered "very impolite" actually made me smile. Johanna would have no idea then of what that meant yet, but she would start getting the message that scalping isn't what one does in the culture to which she is returning. She's going to learn a lot more about the differences in the "new" culture. In the battle scene she showed just how ingeneous she could be, and what she had absorbed from Kiowa culture. Thank goodness she did, or how would they ever have escaped the pursuers?


Posted Aug. 08, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Lori

Join Date: 09/15/11

Posts: 13

RE: How did Johanna wanting to scalp her fallen family make you feel about her?

I loved this demonstration of her courage and cunning in battle and felt that it was completely appropriate in the Kiowa culture in which she was raised. She seemed to me in that moment to be a bad-@ss warrior princess!


Posted Aug. 08, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
debrals

Join Date: 11/28/11

Posts: 39

RE: How did Johanna wanting to scalp her fallen family make you feel about her?

I agree with the comments before. The act cemented her identity for me. We are how we were raised!


Posted Aug. 12, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
deeh

Join Date: 03/03/12

Posts: 186

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RE: How did Johanna wanting to scalp her fallen family make you feel about her?

I did not find it shocking nor did it seem out of character for her. I do like that she listened to the Captain and learned that this was not acceptable behavior among the white settlers.


Posted Aug. 13, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ScribblingScribe

Join Date: 02/29/16

Posts: 73

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RE: How did Johanna wanting to scalp her fallen family make you feel about her?

I thought it was in keeping with how she was raised. It was her way. She didn't know any other. I certainly didn't think less of her because she was acting in her nature. We all do. The Captain understood this and gently took her in hand to teach her the ways she would need to know going forward, but he didn't condemn her for her inclinations knowing they were taught to her.


Posted Aug. 14, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 59

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RE: How did Johanna wanting to scalp her fallen family make you feel about her?

First of all, I am amazed by how much of her previous life she forgot in the four years of living with the Kiowa and how she assimilated and related completely to that culture. I think her actions show how much trust she placed in Captain Kidd. She felt safe to show her true feelings and reactions to events. She also trusted him enough to not go through with the scalping when he corrected her. This was one of the first instances the reader sees Johanna's true strength--she was proud and sure herself. The reader also sees the beginning of her return to "civilization" here as well. She let go of the idea of scalping, seeming to understand that it wasn't an acceptable practice or option for her any more.


Posted Aug. 16, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Loveslife

Join Date: 08/01/15

Posts: 12

RE: How did Johanna wanting to scalp her fallen family make you feel about her?

It made me understand how deeply the Kiowa culture had been ingrained in Johanna's life. So many of the lines describing Johanna's longing for a life foreign from what she now living, gave a realistic voice to what were true experiences of children taken at an early age from their native culture. Captain Kidd was also portrayed here as the compassionate adult in her life who sees Johanna for who she is and does not judge or condemn her.


Posted Sep. 02, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
taking.mytime's Gravatar
taking.mytime

Join Date: 03/29/16

Posts: 97

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RE: How did Johanna wanting to scalp her fallen family make you feel about her?

I really gave no thought to this. Johanna was raised by Kiowa. This was a tradition of the Kiowa - why would she not expect to scalp?


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