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A Piece of the World Discussion Questions

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

''A Piece of the World'' is a fictional novel based on a real work of art, which itself was based on a real subject. As a result, there are many ways to approach this discussion. These questions can help provide a guiding framework.

A Piece of the World

A Piece of the World is a 2017 novel by Christina Baker Kline, in which the author creates a fictional backstory for a real painting, Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World (1948). The novel explores the life of the painting's subject, all told from her perspective. The following discussion questions are intended for high school students but can be adapted to younger classrooms, if needed. These questions can help guide your students through a discussion on the themes, characters, and plot of A Piece of the World. It is highly recommended that you provide students with a copy of Wyeth's painting for this discussion; the last section of these questions is focused particularly on comparing the two works.

Questions About Characters and Plot

  • Who is the main character in A Piece of the World? How are we introduced to Christina? What are some of the first things we learn about her? What is her life like? What are her ambitions? What are her struggles? How would you describe her personality?
  • In one sentence, describe the plot of this novel. What is this story about? What is the central conflict? How is that conflict established? How is it developed?
  • What is Christina's childhood like? What are the events that shape her personality and worldview? What are the obstacles she faces? How do these experiences impact her later in life? How do we see this? Where do we see the greatest changes in Christina's personality throughout the novel? What elements of her personality remain consistent? What does her condition mean to her? How does she attempt to cope or adapt to it?
  • Where is this novel set? How important is the setting in this novel? How does the author describe the farm and the landscape? What tone does this establish? How do you picture it?
  • How is Wyeth introduced into the story? What impact does he have on Christina's life? How does she describe him at first? How does she view him by the end of the novel?
  • How does A Piece of the World end? What did you think about this ending? How have the characters changed? What conflicts have been resolved? What is left unresolved? What do you think the author is trying to say with this ending?

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