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11. We know that Emma was orphaned, that Will's father had drinking problems, that Iris's brother was killed in the First War, and that Frankie grew up in a brownstone in Washington Square. How do these characters' backgrounds shape the decisions that they make? And if we didn't have this information, would our opinion of the characters and their actions change?

12. Early in the novel, Frankie reflects on the fact that most people believed that "women shouldn't be reporting the war." Do you think that Frankie's gender influences her reporting? How does Frankie deal with being a female in a male-dominated field? And do you think female reporters today are under closer scrutiny because of their gender?

13. Why does Otto refuse to tell the townspeople that he's Jewish? Do you think he's right not to do so?

14. Why is the certificate of virginity so important to Iris? What does it tell us about her character?

15. When Frankie returns to America, she finds it impossible to grasp that people are calmly going about their lives while war rages in Europe. What part does complacency play in The Postmistress ?

16. Discuss the significance of the Martha Gellhorn quote at the beginning of the book: "War happens to people, one by one. That is really all I have to say, and it seems to me I have been saying it forever." What stance towards war, and of telling a war story does this reveal? How does it inform your reading of The Postmistress ?

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