Reading Questions for The Orchard by Theresa Weir
1. The author's decision to move to Illinois and help her uncle with his bar was made on a whim. Have you ever made a decision that seemed small and insignificant at the time but in the end redesigned your life?
2. How might the lack of adult guidance in the author's childhood have laid the groundwork for her decision to get married so quickly?
3. Why did the author stay on the farm, especially in the beginning? Could her unconventional upbringing have led to an acceptance of a situation many women wouldn't have tolerated? How did her mother's rocky relationships play into Theresa's unclear view of marriage?
4. Would you have stayed given similar circumstances?
5. The author is never quite sure why Adrian married her. Was it passive-aggressive behavior on his part? Did he want to annoy his mother? Was he attracted to someone who represented the freedom he could never have? Or was it something else?
6. Did the author's ambivalence toward her mother-in-law exacerbate the situation? Should the author have tried harder to fit in?
7. A scion is a rogue branch that is unlike the rest of the tree. How were the author and her husband both scions? Was one more of a scion than the other?
8. Some cultures believe that no one can really own the land. Should farmers be monitored more closely and held accountable for farming practices? Do they have a responsibility that extends beyond themselves? Or should they be able to do whatever they want with the land they own?