Your Summer Assignment
Prior to New Student Orientation in August, you should read the entire book. While you read, you may want to consider the following questions:
- Like “awesome,” “amazing” may currently be one of the most over-used words in the English language (that was an “amazing” cup of coffee; we had “amazing” seats at the movie—etc.). Why were these stories “amazing?” Why did the characters choose these particular experiences to represent an “amazing” moment in their lives? Which story amazed you?
- In addition to telling stories, the characters are, of course, dealing with a life and death crisis. In what ways does their situation bring out the best and worst in them? Are their actions and reactions realistic—did they resonate with you? Which characters become more like themselves and which ones find emotional and even physical resources that they may not have known they possessed?
- Why do you think the author set her novel in a visa office? Where else might a similar group of diverse characters gather?
- Almost all of the characters experience or perpetuate some kind of cultural misunderstanding. Are these misunderstandings more or less likely in a crisis? What did you learn about some of the cultures and religions explored in the book?
- The nine characters are experiencing fairly important transitions in their lives—what are they, and how do they affect the “one amazing thing” each chooses to talk about? Did you identify with any of the characters in particular? Which one(s) and why?
- Refresh your memory with the stories of the female characters in the book. What did these stories have in common?
- If Divakaruni had continued her book for another three pages or so, what do you think would have happened?
- If you were to tell the story of one amazing thing that had happened in your life, what would it be? Would it be a memory of a gift, an experience, a person that you met, or an event that you witnessed? What made it amazing, and how did it change your life?