by Claire Fullerton
Topics for Book Club Discussions
1. What is the theme of Mourning Dove?
2. What is the significance of the idea of relocation and displacement in the story?
3. Do you see the settings of Wayzata, Minnesota and Memphis, Tennessee as culturally opposite? How do these different locations shape the story?
4. Because the narrator, Millie, comes to the South as an outsider, do you think her perspective of Southern culture is accurate?
5. How do you see Millie and Finley’s relationship with their father?
6. What do the siblings witness at their father’s hands, and how does it affect them as they mature?
7. How do you interpret Millie and Finley’s mother, Posey, in Mourning Dove? Is she self-serving? A survivor? What is Posey’s motivation? Whose interests does she have at heart?
8. What role do you see the colonel having in the development of Millie and Finley’s coming of age? How does his presence in their lives affect them?
9. What factors contribute to the Colonel’s distant behavior in Mourning Dove?
10. How do you interpret the character, Ella (Ida Ella Morgan) in the story? What is her role in the Crossan family?
11. What is the meaning behind Millie’s on and off again relationship with Aiden McNair? What was Millie hoping to find?
12. Discuss the tie between Millie and Finley. What were they to each other?
13. Can you discuss the impact of Finley’s brush with fame? What was the fall-out?
14. Why did Millie regret the buying of the book “The Road Less Travelled” for Finley?
15. Why do you think Finley took such an interest in the idea of spirituality? What led him into this subject; what was he looking for?
16. Do you see an understandable path to Finley’s end?
17. What life questions does Millie live with, after all is said and done?
18. Can you find any life-lessons for Millie? What does she learn in telling her story?
19. Is Mourning Dove Millie, or Finley’s story?
20. What does the eponymous symbol of the Mourning Dove mean in the story?
21. Can you relate to the epilogue? Was there a time in your own life when you visited your childhood home? How did it make you feel?