PAGE 4
  1. We do not learn until late in the story that Emil Hesping is the unknown benefactor. We discover that all the years he has been giving gifts to the people of Burgdorf, he has been embezzling money from the gymnasium. How do you feel when he is killed for removing Hitler's unwelcome statue from the town square? The unknown benefactor symbolically counteracts some of the pain Hitler's tyranny has caused. What is Hegi saying about the relation of good deeds to justice?
  2. After the war, many of Burgdorf's townspeople refuse to speak of the war years, pretending that they took no part in the war's evils. What compels them to participate in this complicity of silence? What do you believe can happen to a people when they collectively bury a memory? What purpose does it serve to bring out the truth and to never forget it?
  3. What is the significance of making Trudi and her father the town librarians? Why do you think Hegi uses a library as her novel's principal setting?
  4. How are Burgdorf's women affected by their country's history? Think of Renate Eberhardt, who is turned in by her Nazi son; Ingrid, the young woman searching for divinity; Jutta, the strong and beautiful wife of Klaus Malter; Hanna, the baby Trudi loves too much; Eva Strurm, who was not protected by her husband, Alexander. What pain and atrocities are visited on the women specifically?
  5. What vision of human nature does Stones from the River express? Does Hegi perceive human beings as fundamentally good, evil, or indifferent? As immutable or capable of transformation?
  6. In Stones from the River Hegi uses both stones and the river symbolically. What significance does the phrase, "stones from the river," acquire in the course of the novel, both for Trudi and the reader? How does Trudi use the stones as a means of self-expression? What does the river mean to Trudi and how does Hegi develop it as a metaphor?
  7. In Stones from the River Hegi uses both stones and the river symbolically. What significance does the phrase, "stones from the river," acquire in the course of the novel, both for Trudi and the reader? How does Trudi use the stones as a means of self-expression? What does the river mean to Trudi and how does Hegi develop it as a metaphor?

NEXT STORY

Comment

LONG FORM
ONE WORD