The Book of the Year Committee encourages teachers, book groups, and individuals to utilize the following set of study questions to enrich your
understanding and discussions of Plainsong.
Discussion or essay questions:
Chapter 1: Guthrie
What is the emotional tone in the house on this first morning we meet the Guthrie family?
Chapter 2: Victoria Robideaux
In the confrontation between Victoria and her mother, what do we learn about Victoria's father?
Chapter 3: Ike and Bobby
What is the difference between the boys' visit with their mother and Tom Guthrie's, which we saw in chapter 1?
Chapter 4: Guthrie
What does Lloyd Crowder ask Guthrie to do with Russell Beckman?
Chapter 5: Victoria Roubideaux
Given the fact that adults are now noticing her more frequently, what must she look like?
Chapter 6: Ike & Bobby
From what the boys say, what does it seem they know about their mother's condition?
Chapter 7: Victoria Robideaux
What does Victoria's mother do when Victoria comes home in the middle of the night?
Chapter 8: Ike & Bobby
When Mrs. Stearns remarks that they boys must be lonely (after she learns that their mother no longer lives with them), how do they react?
Chapter 9: Victoria Robideaux
Why doesn't she now want to go see the doctor in Holt?
Chapter 10: Ike & Bobby
When Ike & Bobby wake up, what do they discover in the vacant house near theirs?
Chapter 11: McPherons
How does Guthrie get the red-legged cow into the holding pen?
Chapter 12: Victoria Roubideaux
What important question does the doctor ask her during the visit, and what does she say?
Chapter 13: Guthrie
Who interrupts Victoria's speech? And what does Guthrie do about it?
Chapter 14: Ike & Bobby
What does Donny Lee Burris take from the vacant house?
Chapter 15: Victoria Roubideaux
What incident does Victoria see at Shattuck's that disturbs her?
Chapter 16: Ike & Bobby
In what condition do the boys find their mother?
Chapter 17: McPherons
What does Maggie Jones ask the McPherons?
Chapter 18: Ella
Why does Ella want to see her husband?
Chapter 19: Victoria Roubideaux
Why does Victoria have Maggie Jones stop the car on the way to the McPherons?
Chapter 20: McPherons
What efforts do we see the McPherons make toward making Victoria feel at home that go awry?
Chapter 21: Guthrie
Why is Russell Beckman's father at all upset about his son's five-day suspension?
Chapter 22: Ike & Bobby
What does Mrs. Stearns do when the boys return her key to her and why?
What does Judy, the school secretary, seem to want from Guthrie?
Chapter 24: Victoria Roubideaux
What does Maggie Joe urge the brothers to do to improve the situation at their house?
Chapter 25: Ike & Bobby
What kind of person is their aunt and what does that have to do with her job?
Chapter 26: McPherons
What do the McPheron brothers do to cheer Victoria up during her winter break?
Chapter 27: Guthrie
How does Maggie Jones react to Guthrie's sleeping with Judy and what does this show about Maggie Jones feelings for him?
Chapter 28: Victoria Roubideaux
How does Victoria act around Dwayne?
Chapter 29: McPherons
After the McPherons talk with Maggie Jones about Victoria's disappearance, what do they do?
Chapter 30: Guthrie
What does the school board do about the Beckmans' complaint.
Chapter 31: Victoria Roubideaux
What happens to Victoria at the party?
Chapter 32: McPherons
What does the man at the bar imply to Raymond about the brothers' relationship with Vicky?
Chapter 33: Ike & Bobby
What causes the horse's death?
Chapter 34: Maggie Jones
How does Guthrie think that Maggie Jones is different than other people?
Chapter 35: Victoria Roubideaux
Why does Victoria ultimately leave Dwayne?
Chapter 36: McPherons
Though the brothers do agree to take her back in, what condition do they set upon this?
Chapter 37: Ike & Bobby
What act of revenge does Russell Beckman do to the boys for his suspension?
Chapter 38: Guthrie
What happens when Guthrie confronts the Beckmans?
Chapter 39: McPherons
What do the McPherons do for Victoria after they learn what happened in Denver?
Chapter 40: Ike & Bobby
As a result of seeing Mrs. Stearns dead, as well as circumstances in the own family, what crazy thing do the boys do and why?
Chapter 41: Victoria Roubideaux
What do the McPherons do in gratitude for the successful birth of Victoria's daughter?
Chapter 42: Ike & Bobby
What do the boys do with their mother's coins and bracelet and why?
Chapter 43: McPherons
What do the McPherons do when Dwayne tries to take Victoria with him?
Chapter 44: Holt
How does this last chapter bring the novel to completion and why is it the only one that is named after the town?