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The Buddha in the Attic
by Otsuka, Julie
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1. Otsuka tells us that the last words spoken by the womens mothers still ring in their ears: "You will see: women are weak, but mothers are strong." What does this mean, and how does the novel bear this out?

2. Otsuka writes,"They gave us new names. They called us Helen and Lily. They called us Margaret. They called us Pearl." Discuss how this mirrors the names taken by the womens children later in the novel.

3. Discuss the complexities and nuances of the relationship between the Japanese women and the white women. Was it strictly an employer/employee relationship, or something more?

4. What is J-town? Why do the women choose J-town over any attempt to return home?

5. How do the the dreams of the children differ from the dreams of their mothers?

6. Discuss themes of guilt, shame, and forgiveness in The Buddha in the Attic.

Additional discussion questions from: Reading Group Guides
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