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The Painted Drum
by Erdrich, Louise
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1. How would you characterize the relationship between Faye Travers and Kurt Krahe, and how does it change over the course of the novel?

2. How does The Painted Drum affect Faye Travers, Bernard Shaawano, Simon Jack, and Shawnee individually, and to what extent can the drum's mystical qualities be explained by its unusual origins?

3. How significant is the wolf attack on Anaquot's older daughter in the larger context of The Painted Drum, and why might the author have chosen to relate this event in the "story within a story" format?

4. To what extent do you agree with Faye and Elsie Travers that the theft of the drum from the Jewett Parker Tatro estate and the return of it to the Ojibwe people was an ethical decision?

5. How does the author use the theme of grief relating to the deaths of young children to connect different characters in The Painted Drum?

6. To what extent do the creatures that populate The Painted Drumwolves, ravens, coyotes, a chained dog, an errant bearseem to represent or symbolize something other than their animal selves?

7. Why do Anaquot and Ziigwan'aage agree to befriend one another and conspire against Simon Jack?

8. Of all of the characters in The Painted Drum, which did you find most memorable, and why?

9. How does the accidental fire at Ira's house awaken the drum, and what accounts for Shawnee's ability to hear it?

10. To what extent does Faye's discovery of missing dog's skeleton in the final scene of the book bring the narrative of the novel full-circle?

Additional discussion questions from: Harper Collins
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