Heart Berries (Mailhot) - Discussion Questions

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

1. Talk about the horror that was Terese Marie Mailhot's early years—a childhood marked with addiction, poverty, and abuse.

2. In what way is Mailhot's story reflective of the way American Indians have suffered at the hands of white people?

3. In the essay "Indian Sick," what are the multiple diagnoses Mailhot receives in the hospital?

4. What is the significance of the title Heart Berries?

5. At one point, Mailhot quips, "Indian girls can be forgotten so well they forget themselves." She also writes that "no one wants to know why Indian women leave or where they go." Why does it seem that native women are treated worse than white women? Is that what Mailhot is saying?

6. Does the process of writing her memoir generate for Mailhot a burgeoning sense of redemption? Does her story follow the typical arc from suffering to happiness … or not.

7. In her afterward Q&A with Joan Naviyuk Kane, Mailhot insists that she doesn't "feel liberated from the governing presence of tragedy.… [W]e are not liberated from injustice; we're anchored to it." What does she mean? Can anything reverse or correct the injustices done to indigenous people?

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

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