News of the World (Jiles) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, use these LitLovers talking points to help start a discussion for News of the World...then take off on your own:

1. Talk about the ways in which Johanna Leonberger's life among the Kiowa Indians has shaped her identity, for better and for worse.

2. Captain Kidd is reluctant at first to be saddled with Johanna. What changes his mind: why does he agree to take her to San Antonio? What does it say about the kind of man he is? What kind of man, in fact, is he?

3. How does Paulette Jiles depict post-Civil War Texas? What kind of place is it? Talk about the landscape and the type of people Johanna and Captain Kidd encounter. Also, consider the effects of the Civil War on the populace: is the war actually over?

4. Trace the development of the bond that develops between Johanna and Kidd. What cements their relationship? Whom do you think benefits more from the other? Or is their relationship equally symbiotic?

5. Captain Kidd makes a living traveling through north Texas, reading the news to audiences who pay to hear hear him. Obviously, the novel's title refers to this activity, but what else might "the news of the world" refer to in the novel?

6. All literary journeys follow the arc of the hero's journey. How does this novel adhere to that ancient narrative? Who is the hero—and in what way? How do both Johanna and Kidd change or grow as individuals during the course of their travels?

7. Where you satisfied by the novel's ending? Does Captain Kidd do the right thing for Johanna? Would you have made the same choice, or a different one?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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