The Ultimate Gift Book 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 group discussion about the Jim Stovall novel 'The Ultimate Gift'.

The Ultimate Gift

The Ultimate Gift is a novel by the American author Jim Stovall that explores questions of real value in life as the protagonist must complete a years' worth of tasks in order to receive a massive inheritance. The following discussion questions are intended for high school students, but can be adapted to other ages if desired.

Questions about Plot and Characters

  • In one sentence, how would you describe The Ultimate Gift? What is this book about? How would you explain it to someone?
  • How does this novel begin? Why do you think the author chose to start with the perspective of the lawyer, and not Red or Jason? Why tell the story from this relatively external, but still active and non-omniscient, perspective?
  • How are we introduced to Jason? What was your first impression of this character? Why did you feel that way? How are we introduced to Jason and Red's relationship? What do you think Red saw in Jason?
  • What did you think when you first read about the conditions that Jason had to meet in order to receive the ultimate gift? What did you expect these conditions to look like? What did you think the ultimate gift would be? Why do you think Jason reacts as he does?
  • Can you summarize each of the twelve gifts? What was each gift? Why does Red consider each of these to be a gift to Jason? What happens in the pursuit of each gift?
  • How does Jason change throughout the course of this novel? How does each of the twelve gifts impact him? Where do you think we see the greatest evidence of this change in the novel? Which scene demonstrates this the best?
  • Does Jason change on his own? How do other characters influence his growth? How does his relationship with Red change, even after Red's death? What other characters have an impact on Jason's life?
  • What was the ultimate gift? What did you think about this gift? How do you think Jason would have reacted to this gift if he had simply received it at the start of the novel?
  • In the end, what did you think about The Ultimate Gift? What did you like about this book? Would your recommend it to someone else? Why or why not?

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