My Beloved World Discussion Questions

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

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

The following questions are designed to help you guide your students through a structured discussion about Justice Sonia Sotomayor's memoir 'My Beloved World'.

My Beloved World

My Beloved World is a 2013 memoir by Sonia Sotomayor, a Justice on the US Supreme Court and the first Hispanic to hold that position. Sotomayor's memoir primarily explores her younger life and coming of age as she learned the value of the law and justice and dealt with personal complications within the home. It's a story that can provide insight and inspiration for many students, and is worth exploring through a structured discussion. These discussion questions are designed for high school students but can be easily adapted for other appropriate ages as well.

Questions about Content

  • Who is Sonia Sotomayor? What did you know about her before reading this book? What does a Justice on the Supreme Court do? Why does Sonia Sotomayor's personal story matter?
  • How does My Beloved World begin? If this is a memoir of Sotomayor becoming a Justice on the Supreme Court, why do you think she started the narrative with her parents fighting in the Bronx? What are they fighting about? What does this show us about Sotomayor's sense of how her childhood affected her?
  • What is life like for young Sonia Sotomayor? How does she describe both of her parents? How does she describe her grandmother? How does she describe her community? What is life like as the daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants in the Bronx?
  • How did young Sonia feel about her father's death? Did this reaction surprise you? How does she feel about her mother and grandmother at this time? How does the way she understands these two women change as she grows up? Do we look at our parents and parent figures differently as we grow?
  • What were some of the significant influences in Sotomayor's young life that impacted her education and ideas about justice? What sparked an interest in the law? What subjects, clubs, and people in school helped motivate her or expand her thinking? What did the law represent to Sotomayor?
  • How is life in Princeton different for Sotomayor than her life previously? How does she adjust? How is she still influenced by her family and cultural expectations? How does she move away from these?
  • How does Sotomayor deal with the challenges of college, graduate school, and working? What are the challenges she faces? Where do we see personal challenges? Where do we see challenges in maintaining relationships? Where do we see challenges stemming from prejudice? How does she deal with all of these?
  • Why do you think Sotomayor ended her memoir as she did? What parts of her life did she explore in this memoir? What parts of her life did she not? Why do you think that is?

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