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The Klipfish Code
by Mary Casanova
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1.In her dream, Marit “herringboned” to the next peak. What was she doing? ---Have you ever been skiing? ---Have you had to go up a slope – without a ski lift or rope? How did your legs feel?
2.Did you like the way the author incorporated Norwegian words into the story? Did it make the story more authentic? Did you use the glossary to figure out meanings and pronunciations?
3.The King of Norway had kept the country out of WWI, but not WWII. Were any countries safe from the Nazis in WWII? (p.6)
4.Did you understand why Marit’s small village of Isfjorden was important – and invaded? [end of the fjord---across from city of Audalnes -a port]
5.What was Klipfish? [dried, salted cod] Why do you think the author called this story “The Klipfish Code?”
6.Why was Bestefar so cold/short/not friendly to Marit, but loving to Lars? (p.17) ---Why did he act the way he did?
7.Why do you think Germans handed out candy to the Norwegian people on the island after they invaded? ---Why did Marit always refuse to take any? ---Did you notice that she never spoke to any soldiers? Could this be dangerous?
8.Why didn’t Mama and Papa write very often? (p.20)
9.What is meant by “land of the midnight sun?” (p23)
10.What supplies were the islanders short of during the war? Why? [sugar, potatoes, flour, coffee, stockings]
11.When Marit first met Hanna, what Hanna said made Marit know she had made a good friend. How do you know when you have made a real friend? (p.28)
12.Were you surprised at the “Daily Donations” the Germans took from the Norwegian people? Do you think all invading armies do this? Why? (p.38) ---Were the soldiers monsters?
13.Why did Marit mouth-off to the soldier about the animals not speeding up production of milk and eggs? Didn’t she know how serious the situation was? (p.39) ---What was Bestefar’s response? Did it surprise you?
14.Why did the author include the incident with the dying seal pup in the story? What did it do for the story? [foreshadowed the mission and heightened the terror/danger of it] (p.48-51)
15.It sounded like the BBC was the only free radio channel in all of Europe – why was that? ---What did (does) BBC stand for? ---Why was it so important to listen to the BBC? Why not just read the newspapers or call people?
16.Did you understand about Norwegian Nazis? How could a Norwegian (or French, Austrian) become a Nazi? Why did they do it?
17.How did the people on the island resist/fight back? [paperclips, V’s all over, wear red] This is called “passive resistance." ---Why was it important for the islanders to do this? ---What did the Germans do?
18.Marit thought her grandfather was a coward because he didn’t disobey the Nazis. Bestefar said it was not that simple. Who was right – Marit or her grandfather? ---Could both of them be right and both be wrong? ---What else could the Germans do to them? [take children away]
19.Why did the Nazis forbid the Bunad? ---What did it represent? Why was it dangerous? ---How hard was it for Aunt Ingeborg to say “Nei” to Bestefar, her father? (p.60) Why did she stand up to him?
20.How did Marit and Lars’ coming to Godoy change Aunt Ingeborg’s life? How did it change Bestefar’s?
21.Marit saw that her Aunt, Miss Halversen, was happy when teaching and maybe more herself than when living with Bestefar. Do you think this true? Why?
22.Do you think the Icing-Out of Olaf was cruel? Was it really necessary? ---Aunt Ingeborg told Marit that she did have a choice in choosing to Ice-Out Olaf. Do you agree? (p.71-72)
23.Did you better understand the Nazi soldier’s comment that “war has many unexpected casualties” when Marit felt she had to Ice-Out Olaf?
24.The story jumped in time at several places in the story. Did you find this strange – or did it make sense?
25.Have you ever had Lutefisk? Did you like it? Did it stink? [YES!]
26.Why was the situation with the German officer so dangerous? ---If Miss Halversen had agreed to be courted by the German officer, what would have happened? ---Was that smart of Miss Halvorsen to get angry about the chocolates? Why didn’t she control herself?
27.Did you think Bestefar was a Quisling – a traitor? He was gone for days at a time. What did you think he was doing?
28.What did the Germans do to tighten their grip on Norway? ---Did it work? Why or why not?
29.What were the teachings of the Nazis? Were they really that bad that people would risk their lives to protest them?
30.What was the Klipfish Code? How did it work? ---Why do you think the compass was important? What part or purpose did it serve?
31.Did you know that armies will mine the waters to keep enemies out?
32.Can you be brave, even when you are scared? Mrs. Brottem told Marit that she “didn’t let your fears stop you from … doing what needed to be done. That’s bravery.” (p. 181) ---Do you agree? ---Can someone who’s bawling be brave at the same time?
33.Bestefar said war changes people. Is that true? How?
34.Is it important to do what you feel is right? Why?
35.How did Marit change in the story? Did Bestefar change? Did Marit help him to change?
36.Did you like how the story ended? Would you change anything?
37.How would you feel if you were sent away from your parents to live with relatives for an unknown period of time? Wre Marit's parents right to send her and Lars away?
38.Would you be brave enough to do some of the things Marit did?
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