The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry Discussion Questions

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

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

The following questions can help you to guide your students through a structured discussion about Rachel Joyce's 2012 novel 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry'.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is a 2012 novel by British author Rachel Joyce that details an unexpected journey of self-reflection and healing. The story should provide students with lots to talk about, and you can guide that discussion using the following questions. While intended for high school students, this discussion can be adapted to other age groups as well.

Questions about Plot and Characters

  • How are we introduced to Harold? What are the first things we learn about him? What was your first impression of this character?
  • When Harold receives the letter from Queenie, what is his response? How did you interpret this at the time? What did you think when Harold struggled to write the letter? What did you think when he passed the mailbox and kept walking?
  • How does Harold decide to commit to his walk? As you read this, why did you think he was doing this? What did you think about this gesture of walking to deliver the letter?
  • How is Harold impacted by his pilgrimage? What does he encounter along the way? Which of these events do you think had the biggest impact on him? Why?
  • What do we learn about Harold during his pilgrimage? How did this change your opinions about Harold and his walk? How do you think Harold's perception of himself changes?
  • Why do you think the act of walking so far has such a profound impact on Harold's emotions and relationships? Why do you think that so many other people responded so strongly to Harold's pilgrimage? What does this represent to each of them? How do they see their own lives and struggles reflected in his journey? Why do you think this is?

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