The Diamond as Big as the Ritz Discussion Questions

Instructor: Tara Schofield

Tara has a PhD in Marketing & Management

After reading 'The Diamond as Big as the Ritz', use the discussion questions in this lesson to strengthen students' understanding of the plot, events in the book, and the various characters in the story.


The Diamond as Big as the Ritz is the story of a wealthy family, a visitor, and the demise of a family secret. The book gives insight into greed, power, lies, and a façade of being socially responsible. Use the discussion questions below to help your students understand the story from different viewpoints and gain a greater understanding of the events in the book.

Insight Topics

  • Tell the students to imagine they are John and are planning their escape from the Washington compound. Outline the steps they must take to escape, the items they want to bring with them, the people they need to help them, and how they will get away. Where will they go and what will they do after they leave? Discuss the relevant details of their plan.
  • Ask the students to select five words that are the main theme of the story. For instance, students may select words like 'wealth,' 'greed,' or 'paranoia'. As a discussion in class, ask the students to share one of their words and explain how it is relevant in the story. Encourage feedback from other students regarding how each word applies to the story.
  • Encourage students to see the story from different vantage points. Have them share their opinion about John's visit from different perspectives. For instance, how was John's visit from Kismine's point of view? What did they do? What did she think John liked about the visit? How did she feel about the expectation that John would be killed rather than return home from his visit?

Discussion Questions

Questions About Motivation

  • Why do you think Percy invited John to his home? Do you think he knew his father would have John killed when he invited him?
  • How did John and Kismine fall in love? Do you think their relationship would have worked? Why or why not?
  • What was John's motivation? How did this affect his actions in the story?

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