Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mountains Beyond Mountains Discussion Questions

Below are four discussion questions for the summer book club reading (issued by the publisher). Please respond to one or all of them, depending on which appeals to you the most! Also, remember the helpful hints in online discussion posted below in the first "discussion questions" post. It is sure to be a great discussion with UMM backgrounds in the group!

1. Paul Farmer finds ways of connecting with people whose backgrounds are vastly different from his own. How does he do this? Are his methods something to which we can all aspire?
2. The title of the book comes from the Haitian proverb, "Beyond mountains there are mountains." What does the saying mean in the context of the culture it comes from, and what does it mean in relation to Farmer's work? Can you think of other situations - personal or societal - for which this proverb might be appropriate?
3. Paul Farmer had an eccentric childhood and his accomplishments have been unique. Do you see a correlation between the way Farmer was raised and how he's chosen to live his life? How has your own background influenced your life and your decisions? (Has UMM had an influence on your life?)
4. Tracy Kidder has written elsewhere that the choice of point of view is the most important an author makes in constructing a work of narrative non-fiction. He has also written that finding a point of view that works is a matter of making a choice among tools, and that the choice should be determined, not by theory, but by an author's immersion in the materials of the story itself. Kidder has never before written a book in which he made himself a character. Can you think of some of the reasons he might have had for doing this in Mountains Beyond Mountains?

1 comment:

  1. I thought this book was appropriate given the recent earthquake.

    It is clear the in Haiti, there are mountains beyond mountains. Clear one and there is always another beyond it.

    It seems that Farmer is a unique individual. One hopes that all of the good things he has set in motion aren't solely dependent on him.