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The Last Midwife Discussion Questions

Instructor: Grace Pisano

Grace has a bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in teaching. She previously taught high school in several states around the country.

'The Last Midwife' is a 2015 novel by Sandra Dallas. This resource provides discussion questions that will enhance student understanding of the book and require students to think critically about its themes.

The Last Midwife by Sandra Dallas

With The Last Midwife, your students will have the opportunity to read a historical fiction novel, learn about midwifery and life in the frontiers in the late 1800s, and think critically about the role and treatment of women throughout time. Author Sandra Dallas writes about a strong midwife who lives in Colorado. The midwife, Gracy, is faced with charges that challenge her reputation and morals. The book is ripe for discussion on the treatment of women, life in the 1880s and court protocols.

This book is written at a high school level, but it is also a popular book-club novel. Wherever you are reading this book and using the discussion guide, begin with the section of plot questions. This will make sure that everyone has an understanding of the book. Then, transition into either the connection or critical-thinking questions.

Plot Questions

  • How does the author draw you into the story? After reading the first chapter, what do you know about the life of Gracy?
  • What emerges as the central conflict of the novel?
  • How is Gracy treated differently by people in the town after the accusation?
  • What happens during the murder trial?
  • How does the story conclude? What did you think of this ending?

Connection Questions

  • What did you know about midwifery coming into the book?
  • Have you ever been in a situation where you were only trying to help someone but were accused of something else? What happened? Did this make it easier for you connect to Gracy?
  • It is often said that women around the world, regardless of race or social class, share a strong bond. Do you agree with this? Why or why not? What are some examples of this from the story?
  • What are a few of Gracy's most prominent character traits? Were you inspired by her story to try to work on any of these traits in yourself? If so, which traits?

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