Reading guide for Red Sky in Morning by Paul Lynch

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Red Sky in Morning

by Paul Lynch

Red Sky in Morning by Paul Lynch X
Red Sky in Morning by Paul Lynch
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  • First Published:
    Nov 2013, 288 pages

    Paperback:
    Oct 2014, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Naomi Benaron
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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. How does Bradford portray racial prejudice? How do relations among different ethnic groups in Sagrado differ from those in Mobile? What is the significance of--and some of the confusions and consequences related to--Steenie's classification of people in Sagrado as Anglo, Native, and Indian?
  2. How would you describe Josh's father and his relationship with his son? What role does Frank Arnold play in Josh's life? Are his presence at the novel's beginning and his few letters to Josh sufficient to establish and maintain his presence as a force in Josh's life?
  3. Are Bradford's "Native" characters--the Montoyas, Sheriff Chamaco, Chango Lopez, and others--fully realized individuals? To what extent do they provide a clear understanding of the life, traditions, and history of Sagrado?
  4. What differences between life in Sagrado and life in Mobile are critical to the story and to Josh's character and coming to maturity? How does Josh deal with those differences?
  5. Do we learn enough about Ann Arnold's life and attitudes to adequately understand her reaction to living in Sagrado? In what ways would the story have been different if told from her perspective? Can you sympathize with her unhappiness and her inability, or refusal, to adapt to life in Sagrado?
  6. What is the significance of the novel's title, in addition to its popular reference ("Red sky at morning, sailors take warning")? In what ways does the title apply to Josh and to the story's development? What should give the novel's characters cause to take warning?
  7. What is the sequence of events, experiences, and insights that make up Josh's progress toward moral, emotional, and intellectual maturity? How do others--family, friends, teachers, and other residents of Sagrado--influence that progress? What does he learn from each?
  8. What feelings and values are associated with Bradford's presentation of the New Mexico landscape? What is the significance of Romeo Bonino's returning his carved boulders to the mountain clearing? Do you agree with his explanation of why he returns the boulders?
  9. What purpose is served by Josh's Christmas visit with Amadeo and Victoria to the mountain village of La Cima? To what extent does the lawlessness of La Cima throw into relief the need for a social order based on law, mutually beneficial communal behavior, and a recognition of everyone's humanity?
  10. What attitudes, behaviors, and expressed beliefs and values of the men, women, and children of Sagrado provide a persuasive picture of the kind of lives they lead and aspire to? What is the significance of Victoria's revelation--to Jimbob's consternation--that her family has been in Sagrado since 1598?
  11. Josh explains to Mr. Gunther that he believes his father's reference to "Sage Counsel" "means the counsel of Amadeo and Excilda, since they're both pretty sage." Is Josh correct? What about the Montoyas' life and outlook might explain Josh's trust in them?


Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Back Bay Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

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