A Solitary Blue Study Guide

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A Solitary Blue By Cynthia Voigt

Chapter 1:

1. When Jeff was seven years old, his mother left. What advice did Melody give to Jeff regarding the Professor?

2. What reason did Melody give for leaving Jeff and the Professor?

3. Give examples of how the Professor liked an orderly life.

4. How did you know that the Professor was upset when he read Melody’s note?

5. Describe the Professor.

6. How are the Professor and Melody different?

7. From the exposition of this novel, determine the setting. Indicate the time of year and location.

8. Which live-in housekeeper taught Jeff to cook?

9. What is the name of the man who became the Professor’s friend? Identify him.

10. How is this man different in appearance and personality from the Professor?

11. When Jeff became ill, the Professor realized that he had been neglecting Jeff. What had he forgotten to do for Jeff during the past four years?

12. Where did Melody live at this time?

13. What was Melody’s family name?

14. Discuss the irony of Melody’s decision regarding Jeff.

15. What was the statement that the Professor made repeatedly that seemed to express his philosophy about life?

16. What is the initiating incident of this story?

Chapter 2:

17. Name two things that Melody did that was unusual for Jeff’s first day with her.

18. List and describe the women with whom Melody lives in Charleston.

19. What special things does Jeff like about Melody? (the day they tour the city)

20. Re-read p. 51 (approx. 61-63) and then list some conclusions you make concerning Melody.

21. Who gave Jeff a sense of history in the Boudrault family?

22. Describe the two rings that Gambo wears and tell which one she treasures most

23. Why was Jeff’s trip to Baltimore so miserable?

24. Explain (P. 59/72) “It was also going from one self to another.”

25. How are Jeff and the heron comparable? (p. 60/73)

Chapters 3 and 4:

26. How did Melody neglect Jeff during the school year?

27. Why did his grades decline?

28. What did Jeff give to the Professor, to Melody for Christmas?

29. What did Jeff get from the Professor, from Melody for Christmas?

30. What example do you find of poor communication between Jeff and the Professor on Christmas Day?

31. How did Jeff and the Professor communicate for the first time on Christmas Day?

32. For the first time the Professor reveals his financial situation. How did he become burdened with debts?

33. While they were together, why was Melody disappointed with the Professor?

Chapters 5 and 6:

34. What is Max like?

35. What does Max reveal that upsets Jeff?

36. How did Gambo change (physically and mentally)?

37. How long was Melody away during the summer?

38. How does Melody make Jeff feel guilty so that she can justify leaving hjm again?

39. How did he “break” that summer?

40. What did he do to occupy his days since Melody was gone?

41. How was Jeff like a blue heron?

42. How did Jeff’s argument with Melody further “break” him?

43. Why did Jeff feel so alive when he slept on the island?

44. Why does the heron appear? What is the symbolism?

Chapter 7:

45. How is Jeff not dealing with his heartbreak and disappointment?

46. Why is this unhealthy?

47 What activity releases Jeff from his tower room for short periods of time?

48. What was the Professor’s error as a father that he admits to Jeff?

49. How does the Professor handle Jeff’s emotional and educational difficulties?

50. What symbol appeared while Jeff and the Professor were house-hunting that seemed to indicate that they would be happy in that house?

51. How can Jeff and the Professor purchase a house so far from Baltimore and still get to school and work?

52. What does Jeff call the house?

53. What had been the enemy of the blue heron?

54. Why are the Professor and Brother Thomas so much alike?

Chapters 8 and 9:

55. Why does Jeff mentally repeat the phrase, “it wouldn’t have made any difference”?

56. How did Jeff earn Phil Milson’s respect and friendship?

57. What was good and bad about being “a ghost” and “keeping safe”?

58. After reading the interview, what new facts does Jeff learn about his father?

59. What does Jeff mean by the following? “It was when you got confident you got taken by surprise and really banged around.”

60. What does Melody want at this point?

61. Besides Phil, whom does Jeff add as a friend?

62. How did the Professor dedicate his book?

63. Why wouldn’t Jeff choose to live with Melody now?

64. What trait in Wilhemina Smiths did Jeff admire? Why?

65. How did Jeff meet Dicey Tillerman?

66. What conflict does Jeff feel when Dicey lashes out at him in a brief fit of anger? Why is he confused and upset when a woman shows displeasure toward him?

Chapter 10:

67. Describe the Tillerman children.

68. How and why did the Tillerman children get to their grandmother’s house?

69. What insight about Dicey upsets Jeff when he is talking to James?

70. Why should this upset Jeff?

71. What is wrong with Brother Thomas?

72. How do Jeff and the Tillermans unknowingly help Brother Thomas?

73. What does Melody want this time?

74. How does Jeff try to protect his father?

Chapter 11:

75. Why does Jeff feel guilty and sad after Melody’s visit?

76. Why does Jeff stop his visits to the Tillermans?

77. What did Gambo leave to Jeff?

78. What did Gambo leave to Melody?

79. How is the gift of rings ironic?

80. What does Jeff do with his inheritance?

81. What does Jeff plan to do with the diamond ring?

82. What quote from Mrs. Tillerman describes Jeff?

Chapter 12:

83. What did Melody want this time?

84. What does Jeff mean by the following? “Poor Melody . . . she never knew what the real treasures were.”

Thanks to http://webmail.nicolet.k12.wi.us/~Beverly_Kingma/FOV2-000129BB/S00563ED4 for this Study Guide!

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