Reading Questions for Lime Tree Can't Bear Orange
9. "I don't want you to be afraid. One day you'll look back and say, I'm glad that happened, it's made me who I am. Your feelings can tell you which way to go, like a compass." In chapter 26, Aunt Sula says this to Celia to help her through the difficult period after she leaves the Rodriguez household. Do you think Celia looks back at any of the difficult periods of her life and is glad? If so, which ones and when is she able to do this?
10. As his relationship with Celia progresses, Dr. Rodriguez seems to grow less and less discreet and eventually seems careless—or perhaps daring—with their secret affair. Do you think he actually wanted to be caught? Were you surprised at his reaction to his wife's discovery of the affair?
11. Several themes in the novel center on the balance or tension within a dichotomy—white vs. black, family vs. outsider, religion vs. spiritualism. What are more examples of these dichotomies? Which characters can be identified with either side of each dichotomy and which seem to straddle both?
12. Celia could have pushed harder for support from Dr. Rodriguez when she confronted him with her pregnancy. She could have threatened to tell Helen or expose him to others in Trinidad. Why do you think she did not?
13. Celia pays close attention to beauty and the appearance of the people and places around her as do many of the characters. Who and what in the novel is beautiful? Does beauty seem to correlate to something more profound?
14. Home is an important concept in the book. Which characters have a sense of home in Trinidad? Which in Tobago? England? Does Celia ever come to peace with her own sense of home?
15. What is the meaning of the title Lime Tree Can't Bear Orange ? By the end of the novel, how does this concept apply to Celia?
First chapter: Read an excerpt from Lime Tree Can't Bear Orange
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