Beasts of The Southern Wild Discussion Questions

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

'Beasts of the Southern Wild' is an Oscar-nominated 2012 film by director Benh Zeitlin about a young girl living in a poverty-stricken, low-lying community where sea levels are rising. This asset provides discussion questions about this film.

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Benh Zeitlin's Beasts of the Southern Wild is a fictitious movie that examines what happens to low-income people who make their homes in areas that are negatively impacted by melting polar ice caps. Hushpuppy is a young girl who lives in a community of survivalists who believe the end of the world is coming quickly. The following questions support discussion with high school students about this movie.

Characters and Setting

  • Describe the Bathtub. What are some advantages and disadvantages of living in a place like the Bathtub?
  • What adjectives would you use to describe Hushpuppy? How do her living conditions impact her personality? What is Hushpuppy's philosophy about the natural world? How do you know?
  • Compare Miss Bathsheba to your elementary school teachers. What kinds of things are important for the children in the Bathtub to learn? Why?
  • Describe Hushpuppy's relationship with her father, Wink. What are some factors that influence his parenting style? How might your parents change if your family moved to the Bathtub? Why?
  • What do the prehistoric animals symbolize in this film? What are some other natural disasters that accompany Wink's illness? Why do you think the filmmaker links these events?

Hurricane Damage

This section provides questions about the hurricane and its effect on the Bathtub.

  • Why do you think Wink and many of his neighbors choose to remain in the Bathtub during the hurricane? What would you have done?
  • How do the citizens of the Bathtub react to the destruction of their community? How does your attitude influence the impact of a bad situation?
  • What are the long-term consequences of the flooding of the Bathtub? What are some things Wink attempts to do to save Hushpuppy and his community? What does Hushpuppy mean when she says, 'Sometimes you can break something so bad, that it can't get put back together'? What are some examples of things that can and cannot be fixed?
  • Why do you think Wink and his neighbors resist the mandatory evacuation? What do you think is in Hushpuppy's best interest? Explain your answer.

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